An injury that can keep you off your feet

Peroneal Tendon Dislocation

Foot Stability Comes From Two Important Tendons

The foot has a truly amazing design – capable of withstanding enormous amounts of pressure, and enabling us to do all of the activities we love. In your foot, there are two tendons called the peroneal tendons which play a key role. One of them starts at the top back of your heel and runs down to the outside of your foot, about halfway to your toes. The other is positioned laterally from the back of your heel and then attaches to the inside of your arch.


Also called stirrup tendons, the peroneal tendons hold up the arch of the foot, and they not only allow you to roll to the outside of the foot while standing, but also are largely responsible for stabilizing the foot while walking.


When Injury Occurs

Similar to others in the foot or ankle, these peroneal tendons are vulnerable to inflammation, strains, tears and dislocation. They are held in place by a band of tissue called the peroneal retinaculum. When this tissue becomes stretched or torn, the two tendons can actually slip out of place and become dislocated. They can end up rolling over the fibula (the smaller of the two bones in your lower leg), which can damage the tendons themselves.


There are many causes for this type of injury, but the most common is being involved in sports. Skiing is the most common sport in which peroneal tendon dislocation is seen, but it can also occur with players in football, basketball and soccer. Outside of sports, a severe ankle sprain can also lead to an injury in this area. A history of tendonitis (tendon inflammation) and a previous peroneal injury are other risk factors as well.


Symptoms to Look For

It is important to remember that foot pain is a sign that something is wrong and needs to be looked at. Knowing what this injury feels like will help you diagnose any pain you may be feeling and decide what to do about it. Some of the common symptoms associated with this injury include: changes in the height of the arch of your foot, a snapping sound at the time of injury, pain and tenderness on the outside of the ankle, swelling and bruising, pain when you turn the sole of your foot outward and upward and weakness or a feeling of instability in your foot or ankle.



Plan of Action - Treatment

This is a type of injury that could cause problems in the future if not treated appropriately from the beginning. The shape of your arch could change, resulting in tears, dislocation and possible rupture of surrounding tissues. Dr. Danciger will use a physical examination and X-rays and possibly ultrasonography to confirm a dislocation and the extent of your injury. Patients often have to use crutches after this type of injury, in order to allow the retinaculum tissue to heal, and the tendons to move back to their natural position on the fibula. Immobilization with a cast or splint may also be necessary. Other treatment options include physical therapy, laser treatments, anti-inflammatory medications, and orthotics to help brace and support the foot. In cases where tissue has been severely stretched or torn, surgery may be required.


This injury is similar to most others, in that timely and proper treatment is crucial to the healing and recovery process. If you have the symptoms mentioned above, do not wait to seek diagnosis and treatment. Contact Dr. Danciger and make an appointment at our office in Palm Desert, CA by calling (760) 568-0108.

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