What to do when Peroneal Tendonitis Starts.
You are in the thick of high mileage training for your big marathon. Training is going well but you begin to feel an old familiar twinge of pain in the outer edge of your foot with each foot strike. The pain can radiate under your foot into your big toe and also up the outer edge of your calf.. The pain is not intense but its noticeable enough to make you wince at times. You know what’s going on because you’ve had it before . . . peroneal tendonitis. This is a nagging injury that can plague runners and cyclists. This is an overuse problem and that can afflict runners and cyclists and it is not much fun once it becomes a full flare up. I have not had a recurrence since 2013 but have been training very hard over the last year so definitely need to keep an eye on this. One of the reasons why this injury happens to me is due to my foot pronation so I need to be extra careful that I am wearing the best running shoes for my foot. Also doing much of my running on the shoulder of the road where the road has a small slant affects the way my foot-strikes. The repetitive motion of can be problematic when always running on an uneven road surface.
What is Peroneal Tendonitis?
The, “peroneal tendons are strong, cord-like structures that link the peroneal muscles of the calf to the bones of the foot. Tendonitis occurs when microtears cause tendon damage and inflammation, leading to pain and difficulty walking” (SOURCE: Healthline). There are two tendons that can be affected, the peroneus brevis and the peroneus longus. Tendonitis can be felt in the calf, the side of the foot and even under the ball of the foot.
Injury?! Hopefully not!
As an experienced marathoner now with around 12 or 13 marathons and trail marathons plus two Half Ironmans and countless other races under my belt, I have become much better at listening to my body. After the 2013 Boston Marathon I ended up in a boot for 6 weeks because I had peroneal tendonitis that I did not take care of when it started. Instead of listening to my body I pushed myself too far and even raced a long distance trail race only 3 weeks after Boston even though my foot was hurting with every foot-strike.
Stupid . . . yes . . . but as every athlete knows it can be hard to say no to a race or a run or a bike ride even though you know you should. So here I am now getting ready for Boston and I am feeling some of these twinges in my foot again. Ugh! I need to be super careful and take care of my body now so I don’t end up in the downward spiral of injury again. Another confession: I hardly stretch even though I know I should. I know that stretching especially after long training runs is one of the keys to preventing injury and.
So in hopes of warding off full blown injury I am going to be stretching and you should too!
5 stretches and exercises to help with Peroneal Tendonitis
- Not an exercise or a stretch at all but you definitely need to R.I.C.E. if you feel like peroneal tendonitis has become an issue! Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate!
- Towel stretch: Wrap a towel around your toes and the ball of your foot when you are in a seated position. Pull back and hold ensuring that you are feeling a stretch. Repeat as necessary.
- Calf Stretches! Tight Calf muscles are often a root cause of running injuries. Place hands in front of you on the wall with one leg out further behind you so that you are able to initiate a calf stretch. Repeat stretching as needed.
- Balance exercises are helpful in strengthening around the peroneal tendons. Single leg balance exercises can be done on a BOSU ball or simply on a flat surface with or without a resistance band.
- Step Ups: These can easily be done on a curb or your front steps. Stand on step with leg/foot that is bothering you. Keep other foot flat on the floor. While keeping good posture put weight on injured leg and step up off of other foot. Slowly return to starting position and repeat.
*Disclaimer: I am not a personal trainer or a Doctor. These stretches and exercises were learned through personal experience.
Have you ever had an overuse injury from running? Have you ever experienced Peroneal Tendonitis?