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Peroneal Tendon Tears

Tendons are strong fibrous tissues that attach muscles to bones. The peroneal tendons are two tendons in the foot that run side-by-side behind the outer bone of the ankle. One tendon runs under the foot and attaches near the arch, while the other attaches to the outside of the midfoot. These two tendons are responsible for supporting the foot and ankle and protecting them from injury.

Peroneal tendonitis refers to the inflammation of the peroneal tendons. The common cause of peroneal tendonitis is overuse injury, a direct blow or sudden stress to the tendon, and playing sports that involve repetitive ankle motions.

Symptoms of peroneal tendonitis include tenderness, pain, swelling, redness or warmth in the outside and back part of the ankle. There may be a popping sound when the ankle is moved.

Diagnosis is based on the following:

  • Physical examination of the foot and ankle to assess the movements and condition of the tendon
  • Radiological investigations such as foot or ankle X-rays or MRI may be ordered

Treatment options include:

  • Adequate rest and restricting activities that causes pain and stress
  • Medications to relieve pain and inflammation
  • Applying ice bags over a towel on the affected area for about 15-20 minutes to reduce swelling and


  • Physical therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises may be recommended to reduce pain.
  • Surgery is indicated only in severe cases and involves removing the inflamed tendon lining.

Contact your doctor if symptoms do not improve after two to four weeks of treatment or if new symptoms develop.

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Alpha Omega Alpha
  • Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
  • American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS)
  • Société Internationale de Chirurgie Orthopédique et de Traumatologie
  • Huntington Hospital
  • American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Congress Orthopaedic Associates
  • Penn State Hershey Medical Center
  • Pasadena Magazine Top Doctors 2014

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