In machines, all the cogs, pulleys, belts, and chains have to be in the correct position for the machine to run correctly. If one cog or chain gets bumped out of place, the machine won’t be able to work properly at all. Your body has a similar concern. Everything has a particular place to function efficiently and painlessly. When tissues leave that alignment, like peroneal tendon dislocation, the affected limb is weakened.
Know Your Tendons
Your Achilles tendon isn’t the only connector that plays a role in pulling your foot down. You have two smaller connectors called the peroneal tendons. These long, thin connectors run down the outside of your lower leg to attach to the base of your last metatarsal, allowing your muscles to pull the foot outward as well as down. They also help stabilize the ankle joint. They sit in a groove behind the bony bump on the outside of your ankle and are held in place by ligaments.
The Painful Problem
This dislocation occurs when something allows one or both of those tendons to slip out of their groove and snap forward. The snapping out of place is a process called subluxation. Damage to the ligament stabilizing the two connectors allows them to slide from their normal positions. Sometimes the shape of your foot—such as a shallow groove along the ankle—makes it more likely you will develop this issue. When the tendons slide forward and don’t relocate back to the correct place, they have completely dislocated.
This condition is painful, particularly when you try to use your foot for activities. You’ll feel the discomfort on the outside of your ankle. The area may feel swollen and tender to the touch as well. Your joint may feel more unstable or weak. Many times there is a “snapping” feeling when you use the tendons. However the problem develops, you do need to have it evaluated and treated early, since the problem significantly increases your risk for rupturing those tendons.
Eliminating the Issue
Fortunately, most treatment for peroneal tendon dislocation is conservative. Dr. Darren Silvester and our staff here at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic will need to carefully evaluate your lower limbs to diagnose the problem accurately and rule out other possible injuries. Then, we will begin treatments to restore your lower limbs.
Your foot will need rest to heal the damaged tissues. If your condition is severe, this may mean immobilizing your foot in a cast or special boot for a short period of time. You’ll also need to decrease any swelling and inflammation in the ankle—icing and elevating the foot are valuable for this.
We may recommend medications to decrease irritation as well, especially if your pain is not resolving. Once your foot has recovered somewhat, you will most likely need physical therapy to strengthen your tendons enough to handle the strain of your activities again. If your foot is not responding to these noninvasive methods, surgery becomes an option.
Peroneal tendon dislocation is uncomfortable as well as problematic for normal foot functions. It also risks much more serious problems if it goes unaddressed. To eliminate the pain and restore normal foot functions, you’ll need to have the problem evaluated and managed.
Don’t wait until walking is difficult to reach that point. Instead, contact Dr. Darren Silvester of Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic here in Pleasanton or Universal City, TX. You can use our online request page or call (210) 375-3318 to reach our office for an appointment.