Pain: it hurts. (Imagine that!) But when that pain becomes chronic, it takes on a whole new meaning. Tendonitis is a chronic inflammatory condition that can affect many different parts of the body. As we know, tendons are strong bands of fibers that connect our muscles to our bones. When we overuse or misuse these tendons, we cause damage. Even minor damage to our tendons sparks the body’s natural response to send extra blood to the area to help it heal; we call this swelling. Usually swelling should last only a couple of days, but chronic damage to our tendons causes chronic pain and swelling; we call this tendonitis.

The primary cause of tendonitis is overuse. You hear about it mostly in athletes who perform the same exercises over and over again, but it can truly affect anyone. If you experience chronic pain, swelling, and stiffness in any part of your body, you could be affected by tendonitis. You have over 100 tendons in your legs, ankles, and feet alone so tendonitis has many places to manifest. The most common tendonitis issues in the feet are:

Achilles Tendonitis: Pain between the heel and the calf.

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis:  Pain on the inner side of the foot.

Peroneal Tendonitis: Pain on the outer ankle.

Extensor Tendonitis: Pain on the top of the foot.

Anterior Tibial Tendonitis: Pain at the front on your foot.

If you experience recurring pain in any of these areas, you need to see your podiatrist. You could be over working your feet, be wearing the wrong shoes, or even have an underlying foot abnormality (like flat feet) that is exacerbating your condition. Any number of things could cause tendonitis in your feet and ankles. Taking care of the problem before it becomes chronic is important. Recovery could take weeks or months depending on the severity of your tendonitis. Treatment includes managing pain and swelling, addressing the underlying cause of the problem, and resting the affected area for the duration of the recovery period. If you continue to overuse your feet, tendonitis will come back; so make sure to follow your doctor’s orders!