Tendonitis is a painful and debilitating condition that’s a real pain in the butt (or maybe the foot) to deal with. It has a wide range of different causes, and it can affect every area of the foot. Fortunately, tendonitis in the foot is easily treatable. The home remedies below will help get you back on the right foot in no time.
What Is Tendonitis?
Before we can get into what tendonitis is, let’s take a closer look at tendons. Tendons are the connective tissue that links our muscles to bone, and they’re pretty delicate. If we work our tendons too hard, too long, or unnaturally, tiny rips are created, damaging the tendon. As we create these tiny rips and tears, the tendons become inflamed, which leads to tendonitis of the foot.
What Causes Tendonitis in the Feet?
There are four main causes of tendonitis in the feet. These causes range from overuse and injury to abnormal foot structure and pre-existing medical conditions.
One of the most notorious causes of tendonitis is overuse. If we cause these tendons to work too hard, for too long, or if they stretch too far, tendonitis will occur.
Any foot or ankle injury such as a sprain, strain or a break can end up causing tendonitis.
Depending on the shape of your feet, this can lead to tendonitis as well. For example, if you suffer from high arches or flat feet, these issues can allow the onset of tendonitis.
Finally, tendonitis can be caused by certain inflammatory conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis for example.
What are the Symptoms of Tendonitis?
Fortunately, there isn’t a wide range of symptoms when it comes to tendonitis. If you’re suffering from tendonitis, it’s characterized by only three main symptoms, which makes it fairly easy to diagnose.
Pain is the main symptom, and it’s also the first symptom you’ll experience in all likelihood. If you’re suffering from tendonitis, you’ll experience a sharp or burning pain. At first, it will be localized to the area where the tendon is.
But, over time, the pain can radiate outward and affect the entire foot. Many people dealing with tendonitis say that the pain tends to come in waves. The pain is worse for the first few steps a person takes and then dissipates for a while before coming back again.
Usually, this symptom presents long after the initial pain. After a week or two, it’s common for the area of the foot surrounding the affected tendon to swell. Swelling is especially common with certain types of tendonitis.
Stiffness is another symptom that doesn’t usually present initially, and it’s most common with certain types of tendonitis, like ankle tendonitis.
Types of Foot Tendonitis
Since there are tendons located throughout your foot, there are many different types of tendonitis that can affect you. Let’s take a closer look at different types of foot tendonitis.
Achilles tendonitis is extremely common, especially among athletes. This type of tendonitis causes pain in the lower calf or ankle a few inches above where the tendons of the foot connect to the heel. In this area, the tendon is particularly weak which makes
Achilles tendonitis is one of the most common forms. Because of where the patient experiences pain, it’s often referred to as tendonitis in ankle. Changes in activity level, terrain, footwear or any combination of the three tend to cause Achilles tendonitis.
Posterior Tibial Tendonitis
Posterior tibial tendonitis occurs on the inside of the ankle and foot and is usually caused by an abnormal foot condition, like flat feet. With this type of tendonitis, you’ll experience pain and swelling on the instep of your foot.
Peroneal tendonitis is similar to posterior tibial tendonitis, except it affects the opposite side (outside) of the foot. This type of tendonitis is most common in people who suffer from high arches as well as athletes who have suffered several ankle sprains in the past.
Flexor tendonitis is like Achilles tendonitis, but the pain is typically located a bit lower and closer to the heel of the foot. This type is most common in dancers as well as anyone who does a lot of balancing on their toes.
This type of tendonitis results in top of foot pain. The extensor tendons run along the foot and work to keep our toes straight. When this tendonitis occurs, patients usually complain of pain on top of foot.
Pain in top of foot from this type of tendonitis is common in people with high insteps. Swelling is also common with this type of tendonitis. Usually, an easy way to tell if you’re experiencing tendonitis of the extensor tendons is if you experience pain when curling your toes.
Anterior Tibial Tendonitis (Flexor Tendonitis)
This type of tendonitis is the rarest. It’s characterized by pain at the front of the foot. Most commonly, you’ll feel this pain when going up or down stairs, or when running on hilly terrain.
Before we look at some great natural remedies that are going to help reduce the pain and swelling associated with tendonitis, we need to discuss PRICE. PRICE is an acronym that stands for protect, rest, ice, compression and elevation. This simple method serves as a great starting point for treating any injury.
When dealing with any injury, you’re going to want to protect the area, to limit the risk of aggravating it any further. This is especially important when it comes to conditions like tendonitis because we’re on our feet so much throughout the day. Consider wearing a brace for tendonitis during treatment to limit how much additional wear and tear you’re causing on your foot.
Perhaps the most important step when it comes to treatment for tendonitis (and the most often overlooked) is rest. Rest will give your inflamed tendons an opportunity to repair themselves, and it’s the key to getting back to what you were doing as quickly as possible. Try your best to avoid the activities that are most likely to aggravate your symptoms. So, you’ll want to avoid activities like running, jumping and climbing.
Beyond resting your feet as much as possible, you’ll need to make sure you’re getting plenty of rest in general. That way, your body can recuperate and repair itself.
Ice is one of the most useful and popular remedies when it comes to treating tendonitis foot pain as well as all sorts of other injuries. At the first onset of symptoms, you’ll want to ice the spot where you’re experiencing pain. Ice the area for 10-15 minutes at a time often.
Continue to use ice three times each day for 10-15 minutes at a time so long as it’s providing relief for your symptoms.
Compression is a great way to limit swelling when dealing with injuries. With tendonitis, you’re likely to experience swelling, especially if you’re suffering from posterior tibial tendonitis. Use compression bandages to limit that swelling, especially when you’re on your feet. Many protective braces also provide compression as well, which kills two birds with one stone.
Finally, elevation. Elevation is another way to reduce swelling in an area because it will reduce blood flow to that area. If you’re experiencing any swelling related to your tendonitis, try to elevate your foot whenever you’re relaxing.
Treating Foot Tendonitis Naturally
Fortunately, there’s a broad range of options to treat tendonitis naturally in the comfort of your home. Let’s take a closer look at the many ways you can relieve the symptoms of tendonitis.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a powerful cure-all that’s lauded for its anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking apple cider vinegar twice a day is a great way to help provide relief from your tendonitis symptoms. It’s far from appetizing on its own, so you may want to follow the recipe below for a tastier apple cider vinegar drink that will help relieve your symptoms without the nasty taste. You’ll need:
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 6 ounces’ warm water
Dissolve the teaspoon of honey into the warm water. Next, add the ACV and lemon juice, stir and enjoy!
As a natural anti-inflammatory, Epsom salt is another powerful home remedy for tendonitis. It’s also versatile, and you can use it in a few different ways.
Find a container large enough for you to place your feet in (an empty storage tote works well) and create an Epsom salt bath. Add about ½ cup of Epsom salt for every two gallons of water. Stir the water until the salt has dissolved, and soak your feet in the mixture for 12-15 minutes.
Make an Epsom salt compress by soaking a washcloth in an 8:1 Epsom salt mixture (8 parts water to 1 part Epsom salt) and apply the compress to the affected area for 12-15 minutes.
Cayenne pepper is packed with capsaicin, a natural pain reliever. You can combine cayenne pepper powder with olive oil to create a powerful natural pain reliever that’s sure to help reduce your tendonitis symptoms.
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 oz. olive oil
Add the cayenne to the olive oil and stir until the pepper is evenly distributed throughout the oil. Apply the mixture directly to the affected area and leave it for 10-15 minutes. When you’re done, rinse off the mixture with warm water.
Sage is another powerful anti-inflammatory that you can use in several different ways to help alleviate your symptoms. You can rub fresh sage directly on the affected area, create a sage tincture, or find some sage tea at your local health food store.
To create a sage tincture, you’ll need:
- 2 oz. sage leaves
- 8 oz. apple cider vinegar
Bring the apple cider vinegar to a boil. Once it’s boiled, gently rub the sage leaves in your hands (this will help release their essential oils) and add the leaves to the apple cider vinegar. Let the leaves boil in the vinegar for 5-10 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool. Next, dip a cloth into the mixture and apply it directly to the affected area.
Chickweed is another helpful herb when it comes to treating tendonitis. It possesses a broad range of different medicinal properties, and it’s known to help reduce swelling, which is a fairly common symptom with certain types of foot tendonitis.
You can enjoy the benefits of chickweed by brewing it in tea. You’ll need the following:
- 1 tablespoon of dried chickweed (or 2 tablespoons of fresh)
- 1 cup boiling water
Bring the water to a boil and add the chickweed. Let it steep for ten minutes before drinking. Add sugar, honey or lemon to taste.
Vinegar wraps are a great way to relieve tendonitis pain because vinegar has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Here, we’re going to alternate hot and cold vinegar wraps to achieve maximum relief. You’re going to need a few ingredients:
- 4 ounces of vinegar (apple cider vinegar is probably best, but any kind will do)
- 4 ounces of ice cold water
- 1 small pot
- 1 small bowl
- 2 clean washcloths
First, combine the vinegar and water. Now, we’re going to split the mixture in half. Pour half the mixture into a small pot or microwave safe container and heat it. In the meantime, put the other half of the mixture into the refrigerator. Once you start to see steam rising from the hot vinegar mixture, remove it from heat and soak a washcloth in it.
Wring out any excess and place the hot compress on the affected area for 10-15 minutes. Next, take your cold vinegar mixture from the fridge and soak your other washcloth in that mixture. Wring out any excess and place the cold compress on the affected area for 10-15 minutes. You can repeat this process twice a day.
Believe it or not, the humble potato makes a great remedy for tendonitis pain. Take a nice big potato and boil it. Once it’s finished, mash the potato finely and apply it directly to the affected area. Leave the potato on for about half an hour, then wash clean. Repeat this process twice a day for three days.
Carbonated water is another natural remedy you can make use of to relieve any swelling you’re experiencing because of tendonitis. Through reverse osmosis, the carbonated water will help to leach any excess fluid in your feet out of your body. For this remedy, just soak your feet in some carbonated water (just make sure it’s unsweetened).
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of cabbage, you can treat tendonitis ankle pain with cabbage leaves. For this remedy, remove a few of the outer leaves from a head of cabbage and soak them in cold water.
Then, wrap the cabbage leaves around your feet and secure them with gauze. Leave the cabbage leaves on your feet for at least a half hour. If you’re not grossed out by the idea of sharing your sheets with some cabbage leaves, you could even leave them on overnight.
Acupuncture has been in practice for thousands of years as an effective treatment for nearly any ailment, including tendonitis. Studies have shown that when compared to other means, acupuncture is an effective way to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with tendonitis. But, you’ll want to look for an acupuncturist who either specializes in or has experience in treating tendonitis.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a veritable miracle of nutrition. Omega-3 can help with everything from asthma, Alzheimer’s, and arthritis through to depression, inflammation and childhood development.
Omega-3 is one of the most popular supplements on the market, and people usually take it in pill form. You can also find Omega-3 naturally in fish, eggs and some seeds and nuts.
Other Treatment Options
In addition to the natural remedies above, there’s also some other treatment options you may want to consider as you treat your symptoms.
Friction massage is an effective treatment method that’s used to aid in recovery from tendonitis. The goal of friction massage is to stimulate your inflamed and torn tendons, which will encourage them to heal more quickly.
To give yourself a friction massage, simply massage the area where you’re experiencing pain either up and down or side to side. If the tendon runs laterally (from side to side), you’ll want to massage the tendon up and down. If the tendon runs vertically (from up to down), you’ll want to massage the tendon side to side.
Over the Counter Medications
Over the counter medications can also help provide a quick fix for reducing your tendonitis symptoms. Medications that are effective for treating the inflammation that causes tendonitis pain are called NSAIDS, which stands for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. NSAIDs include aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen.
These drugs are usually fine for an occasional quick fix if you’re unable to try one of the remedies above right away. But, they shouldn’t be relied on long term, and there are side effects associated with their use. So, it’s best to check with a doctor to discuss the risks and benefits of NSAID medications.
Since tendonitis is caused in large part by inflammation of the tendons in the foot, anti-inflammatories are a great way to get relief from the pain and discomfort you’re feeling. There are plenty of great foods and spices you can add to your diet today that will help to relieve the inflammation around your tendons. Here are some of the best ones:
- Dark, leafy greens (kale, spinach, collards, etc.)
How to Prevent Tendonitis in the Foot
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This adage rings especially true when it comes to foot tendonitis. Following these tips will greatly reduce your risk of developing tendonitis.
- Be sure to warm up before engaging in strenuous activity. Focus on stretches which target the different tendons of the foot.
- Light weight training a few times a week is a very effective way to strengthen the tendons in the foot, which can help prevent tendonitis.
- Match footwear with activities – This may seem like a no-brainer, but so many of us wear shoes which aren’t appropriate for the activity we’re engaging in. So, if you’re going to be running, wear running shoes. Or, if you’re going to be hiking, consider a pair of hiking shoes.
- Proper technique goes a long way in reducing your risk for all sorts of different muscle, tendon and ligament injuries. Regardless of what kind of exercise you’re engaging in, always try and practice proper technique. You’ll get more out of your exercise routine while also limiting your chance of injury.
- Take extra care if you’re over the age of 40. As we age, our tendons begin to lose some of their elasticity, which makes it harder for them to perform the way they have in the past. So, take a little extra time when warming up, and try and be particularly vigilant when exercising.
- If you’re experiencing pain in tendons or joints, stop the activity you’re engaged in immediately to prevent further damage. If you ignore pain and discomfort, all you’re doing is putting yourself at greater risk for an injury.
Combining cold and warmth is a simple yet effective way to get immediate pain relief and promote long-term healing. It’s a simple yet very effective way to relieve pain and promote healing in your injured tendon.
Tendon injuries can happen to anyone, and right now there are thousands of doctors and physical therapists dealing with patients that require a solution to treat their injured tendon fast… and heal it (where possible).
If you want to be proactive about properly dealing with your tendon pain, speak to your doctor about adding conservative temperature treatments to your home recovery with Aid Your Tendon’s system using a Cold Compress or Ice Pack, Mend Me Shop Arnica Pain Cream, and Deep Tissue Therapy via the T•Shellz Wrap.
You’re looking to heal your tendon quickly and want to boost the natural power of pain relief and healing in your body.
You want to minimize the cost of injections, medications, hospital visits, or surgery.
You want to minimize the time needed for long-term healing (and get back to work quickly)
You want to reduce the chance of re-injuring your tendon.
You want to reduce the chance of secondary injuries that long term (chronic) tendonitis can bring.
You want to control your treatment and healing at home, on your own time.
You’re looking for a tried, tested, and a valid method of healing that’s been used for centuries and has worked for countless other tendonitis pain sufferers.
A Cold Compress or Ice Pack work best to relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation for new injuries, re-injury and during immediate post-surgery recovery. After 24 to 72 hours of your initial injury or when you first notice pain and swelling to stop cellular damage, relieve pain, and decrease swelling.
When to See a Doctor
For the most part, you can treat tendonitis in the home, by following the PRICE principals and using some of the home remedies we spoke about earlier. But, if you’re experiencing pain, swelling or stiffness for weeks on end with no improvement in your symptoms, you may want to consider seeing a doctor immediately.
In general, it’s a good idea to speak with a doctor if you’re dealing with foot tendonitis so that you can work with the doctor to create a plan that will prevent your symptoms from reoccurring.