Extensor tendinitis is inflammation of the tendons which straighten the toes. They run along the top of the foot and are known as the extensor tendons.
Extensor Tendonitis Symptoms
Symptoms of extensor tendonitis include pain on the top of the foot which is worse during running. The athlete may feel pain when the tensons are stretched by curling the toes and there may be some diffuse swelling over the top of the foot.
Extensor Tendinitis Explained
This condition is referred to as any of the following: Extensor Tendonitis; Extensor Tendinitis; Extensor Tendinopathy. These are terms are interchangeable are refer to the same condition, however tendinopathy tends to be the favored term amongst the medical profession.
The muscles affected can be the Tibialis Anterior, Extensor Hallucis Longus, Extensor Hallucis Brevis. Inflammation of the tibialis anterior is most common but inflammation of the extensor digitorum muscles is also possible.
- Badly fitting shoes or shoes that are laced far too tightly causing pressure on the top of the foot.
- It can also be caused by a change in training methods or running terrain, particularly hill running. Running uphill means the extensor muscles must work harder to lift the foot and downhill they have to work harder eccentrically to slow the foot.
- Running on icy or slippery surfaces can also be a cause.
Extensor Tendonitis Treatment
What can the athlete do about inflamed extensor tendons?
- Rest until there is no more pain.
- Apply ice or cold therapy.
- Alter shoes or get shoes that fit properly!
- Ensure shoe laces are not too tightly tied.
- Pad the shoe in the forefoot to take the pressure off.
- Follow a rehabilitation programme including strengthening of the extensor muscles and stretching the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg.
What can a sports injury specialist or doctor do?
- Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.
- Consider the possibility of a metatarsal stress fracture (often pain on passive stretching indicates tendinitis, but pain when the toes are pulled outwards might indicate a stress fracture).
- If it is a long term problem a steroid injection may be given.
- In very rare cases surgery is performed.