Easing Pain in the Top of the Foot

Here at our Palm Desert office, we treat patients for many different conditions, including some that cause pain in the top of the foot. The causes for this issue can vary from stress fractures to arthritic conditions, but one that may develop and require treatment—so you can find the relief you need to perform your normal and favorite activities—is extensor tendonitis.

Extensor Tendonitis

Extensor Tendonitis is a condition that develops when the tendons running the length of the top of the foot become inflamed. These tendons are responsible for straightening your toes, and you use them every time you step. They can become inflamed on account of overuse, change in training levels or methods, or even shoes that fit poorly or are laced too tightly.

Extensor tendonitis treatment includes:

  • Diagnosis – This is your first step in treatment. It is imperative to know that the cause of your top of foot pain is this condition and not another one with similar symptoms, like a metatarsal stress fracture.
  • Rest – After being certain that you are dealing with this particular tendonitis, you need to back off from training and physical activity. We will work with you so you can know how long that might entail, along with which alternative exercises you can do in the meantime (until the problem is resolved).
  • Cold therapy – Icing is a recommended part of treatment for this injury and it is useful for relieving pain and keeping swelling to a minimum. When you ice an injured area, be sure to wrap the ice or cold pack in a thin towel to protect your skin from damage.
  • Medication – Our office might prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, or even steroid injections for long-term problems. If we use steroid treatments, a concern is that repeated injections may actually weaken the tendon. This is something we would discuss before proceeding.
  • Exercises – After the pain has been addressed, physical therapy—including strengthening exercises—can help you achieve a complete recovery from the injury.
  • Laser therapy – One of the most versatile tools in the field of podiatry, laser treatment is used to treat a wide range of soft tissue injuries, just like this one. Laser therapy helps to both quicken and enhance your body’s natural healing processes at the cellular level. This treatment is safe, effective, and has not demonstrated any adverse side effects.
  • Surgery – In very rare cases, surgical procedures are necessary to completely treat this condition (but we will exhaust conservative options before getting to that point).


Extensor tendonitis is only one of the many foot or ankle conditions we treat for our patients. If you are experiencing any pain in your lower appendages, contact our office staff and request an appointment for the expert care you need.

Our office is located in Palm Desert and you can reach us online or by calling (760) 568-0108. Call today and put the foot pain behind you!

Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle
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