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Ankle Pain

Peroneal Tendon Tear Advice

Minute Read


Posted 1 year ago


Last updated: 03/12/2022


by James McCormack

How Do I know If I Tore my Peroneal Tendon?

In most cases, there is an incident that leads to a Peroneal Tendon Tear such as an ankle sprain or suddenly changing direction when playing a sport. This is normally followed by a sudden onset of pain alongside some bruising and swelling on the outside of the ankle.

There may be a constant throbbing pain in the initial instance but this typically settles and pain is only felt with movements such as turning the foot out against resistance or when walking and running.

How long does it take a Peroneal Tendon Tear to heal?

On average it takes a Grade 1 Peroneal Tendon 4-6 weeks to heal and a Grade 2 Peroneal Tendon up to 12 weeks to heal. It is important during this period to do a structured rehabilitation program guided by a Physical Therapist. This will include strengthening and mobility exercises.

A Tendon normally takes slightly longer to her than a muscular tear as it has less blood supply, especially the Peroneal Brevis.

Person putting ice on a Peroneal Tendon

How do you treat a Peroneal Tendon Tear?

In the first 72 hours after a Peroneal Tendon tear, the tendon should be immobilized and ice used to manage pain levels. Avoid anti-inflammatories during this phase as they can interfere with the natural healing process. Try to encourage a normal walking pattern where possible to reduce the risk of compensation injuries elsewhere.

After this stage, it is recommended that you see a Physical Therapist begin your rehabilitation.

Picture of a foot on a wobble board for Peroneal Tendon rehabilitation

Will a torn Peroneal Tendon heal on its own?

A torn Peroneal Tendon will begin the healing process on its own accord but after this, it will be weaker than it was before the initial injury. This results in an increased risk of the injury recurring. Another issue that can arise from not seeing a medical professional is the development of secondary injuries such as Peroneal Tendonitis from an incorrect healing pattern.

When do you need surgery for a Peroneal Tendon Tear?

High grade 3 tears of the Peroneal Tendon can need surgery if they fail conservative treatment. A partial rupture should try up to 12 weeks of structured rehabilitation before considering surgery.

A longitudinal split that is painful is a candidate for surgery with highly successful postoperative outcomes.

Picture of an ankle after surgery

Can a Peroneal Tendon Tear heal without surgery?

A low-grade Peroneal Tendon tear can heal on its own without surgery although it will be weaker than before the injury and we recommended seeing a Physical Therapist for structure rehabilitation. A high grade Peroneal Tear or longitudinal tear of the Peroneal Tendon may not heal on its own without surgery despite having adequate conservative treatment.

What’s the difference between a Peroneal Tendon Tear and Subluxation?

A Peroneal Tendon Tear is a tear of the tendon itself, most commonly the Peroneal Brevis whereas a Peroneal Tendon Subluxation is the movement of the tendon out of the groove behind the fibula. This usually results in a loud clicking noise. A subluxation doesn’t have a direct effect on the tendon’s health but it can lead to Peroneal Tendon tears over time.

Picture of Peronal Tendon Subluxation

Peroneal Tendon Tear vs Rupture?

A Peroneal Tendon tear, also known as a partial rupture is a tear of some of the Peroneal Tendons (usually 50% or less) whereas a rupture is the complete tearing of all the tendons fibers or sufficient amounts that it cannot function to its intended capacity.

Peroneal Tendon Tear Vs Tendonitis

A Peroneal Tendon tear is a tearing of a percentage of the fibers of the Peroneal Tendon. This is often the result of a sudden movement or action with an immediate onset of pain and loss of function. Peroneal Tendonitis is the inflammation and irritation of the Peroneal Tendon without any tears. This is more gradual in onset with a typical mechanism of injury. It can be the result of a sudden increase in the use of the Peroneal Tendon or a biomechanical overload.

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice and we recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack to achieve a diagnosis. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

Other Related Articles 

Peroneal Tendonitis Exercises
Peroneal Tendonitis: Symptoms and Treatment
Peroneal Tendon Subluxation

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