Extensor Tendonitis

Extensor tendinitis is inflammation of the extensor tendons which run along the top of the foot and straighten the toes. Pain is felt along the top of the foot.

Extensor tendonitis symptoms

Symptoms of extensor tendonitis include pain on the top of the foot which is made worse during running. The athlete may feel pain when the tendons are stretched by curling the toes and there may also be some diffuse swelling over the top of the foot.

Extensor tendonitis is usually caused by overuse. Badly fitting shoes or shoes that are laced too tightly causing pressure on the top of the foot can cause inflammation of the tendons.

Extensor tendonitis treatment

What can the athlete do about inflamed extensor tendons?

Rest until the pain has gone. Continuing to train when the foot is painful will only make the injury worse and delay the healing. If it becomes chronic or the tendon degenerates then healing will take much longer.

Apply ice of cold therapy can be applied for 10 minutes every hour initially reducing frequency as required over the next 48 hours. Ice can be applied in a wet tea towel or with a re-useable ice pack. Do not apply ice directly to the skin as it may burn. Once the initial painful acute stage has passed then application of heat may be more effective. Ensure footwear is appropriate and in particular the shoes are not laced too tightly. Over tightening the laces puts direct pressure over the extensor tendons in the foot. It may help to try a different lacing pattern.

When all pain has gone a full rehabilitation program to strengthen the extensor muscles should be done. Peter O’ Grady can advise on the correct exercises to strengthen the extensor muscles.

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