The anterior tibialis tendon is located on the front of your ankle and connects the anterior tibialis muscle to your foot. The anterior tibialis muscle is found on the lateral side of your shinbone, and functions to flex your foot toward the head. When excessive stress is placed on the tendon, it becomes irritated and inflamed – a condition known as anterior tibialis tendinitis. Anterior tibialis tendinitis can be treated with conservative therapies, and most are able to recover over a period of several weeks to months.
The primary causative factor for anterior tibialis tendinitis is excessive tension applied to the tendon. This may occur from activities that apply a large amount of force to the muscle or activities that involve excessive repetitions. In particular, activities such as kicking with pointed toes, hill running and running on uneven surfaces place excessive stress on the tendon. The tendon may also become irritated from direct contact with a piece of sporting equipment that is wrapped too tightly around the ankle and tendon, such as a shoe or shoelace.
Decreased flexibility of the calf muscles, improper foot biomechanics, weakness of the anterior tibialis muscle, incorrect shoes and sudden increases in training can all put undue stress on the anterior tibial tendon and increase your risk of developing tendinitis.
The classic complaint of patients with anterior tibialis tendinitis is pain located in the front of the ankle. The pain is usually exacerbated by activities that place stress on your anterior tibialis tendon and is relieved by rest. The tendon itself may also feel tender to palpation. Symptoms usually present gradually and then worsen over a period of several weeks to months.
See your doctor if you have symptoms of anterior tibialis tendinitis so that he or she can properly diagnose and treat the condition. Treatment is directed toward conservative measures such as rest, ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to increase the strength and flexibility of the muscles of your lower leg. They may also recommend orthotics to reposition the foot in neutral alignment.
The length of recovery is dependent upon the amount of time that the condition has existed. Cases that are identified and treated early may heal in several weeks. Patients who have allowed the condition to progress for a long time can expect an extended recovery of up to several months. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you will recover and the sooner you will be able to go back to your regular activities.