An Uncommon but Serious Injury
Medical terms can seem like another language. You may not know what your peroneal tendons are much less what can go wrong with them. Peroneal dislocation is not common, but understanding it might help you avoid problems or recognize that you should get help quickly if it happens to you.
An Anatomy Lesson
You have two peroneal tendons. They run from your calf muscles along the outside of your leg and behind your ankle bone, where they are held in place by a band of tissue called the peroneal retinaculum. From there they go down under your foot to connect to bones on the inside and outside of your arch. These tendons help hold your arch in place, and they also allow you to roll your ankle to the outside when standing. You can feel them if you touch that small hollow behind your ankle bone.
What Can Go Wrong
Problems with the peroneal tendons often occur with participation in certain sports. Show skiing is the prime culprit, but basketball, football, soccer – any sport that has you moving from side to side – can be risky as well. You can also injure them if you experience a bad sprain from a fall or a car accident. Peroneal dislocation happens when there is damage to the peroneal retinaculum and it stretches or tears. When it can no longer hold the tendons in place, the tendons move out of position (dislocate) and roll over the outside of the ankle bone. The friction that results can damage the tendon itself.
When there is damage, the area behind your ankle bone may swell up and feel tender to the touch. Sometimes you can even see the tendon move out of position, or you may hear a popping sound when you move your foot a certain way. All of these symptoms are a good reason to contact Parker Foot & Ankle in Houston for an evaluation. Imaging technology, particularly MRIs, are effective in diagnosing the dislocation and its severity.
How Is Peroneal Dislocation Treated?
If the injury is mild, with the tendons only stretched but not dislocated, a regimen of icing to reduce swelling and immobilization with a cast can bring good results. Usually the patient must use crutches and keep all weight off the foot for several weeks. More serious cases involve the torn tissue and the tendons that are out of position. If this occurs, we will start with a wrap or splint and crutches to keep the weight off until the swelling has gone down, and then re-evaluate the severity of the injury. If ankle pain does not subside after 4 - 6 weeks of conservative treatment, surgery may be needed to repair the retinaculum or the tendons themselves.
Damage to the peroneal tendons is not something to ignore. The longer the problem is left untreated, the more damage can occur and the harder it will be to correct. Contact Dr. Robert Parker by phone at (281) 497-2850, or request an appointment online if you have ankle pain. We have the latest equipment and expertise for diagnosing and treating all of your foot problems. Take the first steps to great foot health with us!