The human foot is a complex structure that relies on a network of tendons and ligaments to provide strength and support. Unfortunately, these tendons can become damaged and inflamed, leaving you in pain and seriously limiting your mobility.
The peroneal tendons in your feet are vulnerable to this inflammation, causing a painful condition known as peroneal tendonitis. If you are suffering from peroneal tendonitis, your podiatrist can offer a range of non-invasive treatments to reduce pain and inflammation. Shockwave treatment is one of the most effective non-invasive treatments available.
What Is Peroneal Tendonitis, And What Causes It?
The peroneal tendons are a linked pair of tendons that run from the outside of your calf muscle, past the ankle joint, and connect to the bones at the base of your smallest toe. These tendons are vital for ankle stability and strength, preventing your ankles from buckling underneath you when you stand, walk or run.
If you have overused your peroneal tendons with intense physical exercise, suffered an injury to the ankle such as a sprain or have problems with your gait that alter the way your ankles move when you walk or run, these tendons can suffer from small tears. These tears cause the tendons to become inflamed and painful as the body attempts to heal them.
This is peroneal tendonitis, and it can cause severe pain and stiffness in your ankles. You may notice that the pain gets worse when you walk or run, and the underlying inflammation can cause the skin around your ankles to become red, swollen and tender. If the tears are not treated, they can become larger, potentially leading to permanent tendon damage and irreversible loss of strength and mobility.
Almost anyone of any age can suffer from peroneal tendonitis, and athletes, joggers and workers who stay on their feet for long periods are especially likely to suffer from it. You are also more likely to suffer from peroneal tendonitis if you are over 40, suffer from joint conditions such as arthritis, are overweight, or simply don't stretch and warm up properly before you exercise.
How Can Shockwave Therapy Treat Peroneal Tendonitis?
Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment that can be used to treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, including peroneal tendonitis. It is offered by a range of podiatrists, especially those that specialise in treating muscle and tendon injuries.
During shockwave therapy, a wand connected to a compressed air supply is placed against the skin over the inflamed peroneal tendons. This wand sends pulses of compressed air directly against the surface of the skin, creating shockwaves that pass through the skin and disturb the damaged tendons.
The mild disturbances created by these shockwaves promote the flow of blood and healing factors towards the damaged tendons, boosting your body's natural healing abilities and speeding up the recovery process. The shockwaves also break down fibrosis and calcification in and around the damaged tendons, preventing the formation of scar tissue which impedes healing and limits mobility.
Shockwave therapy is painless and can be administered in short sessions while you are fully awake and conscious. You will need to limit your foot movements for the first day or two after a session, but no other special measures are necessary. Shockwave therapy can usually provide noticeable benefits within just a few sessions, getting you back on your feet as soon as possible.