What Is Tendonitis of the Foot?

When you use a set of muscles too much, you’re likely to strain the tendons. These are soft tissues that connect muscles to bones. At first, pain or swelling may come and go quickly. But if you do too much too soon, your muscles may get too tired again. The strain may cause a tendon’s outer covering to swell. Or it may cause small fibers in a tendon to pull apart. If you keep pushing your muscles, the tendons keep being harmed. The damage adds up. This causes tendonitis. Over time, pain and swelling may limit your activities. But with your healthcare provider’s help, tendonitis can be controlled. Both your symptoms and your risk of future problems, including tendon rupture, can be reduced.

The back of your foot

Back view of foot and calf showing bones and Achilles tendon.

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscle to the heel bone. If tendonitis occurs here, you may feel pain when your foot touches down. Or you may have pain when your heel lifts off the ground.

The front of your foot

Front view of foot and lower leg showing foot bones and anterior tibial tendon.

The anterior tibial tendon helps control the front of your foot when it meets the ground. If this tendon is strained, you may feel pain when you go down stairs. It may hurt when you walk or run on hills.

The inside of your foot

Three-quarter view of lower leg and foot showing bones and posterior tibial tendon.

The posterior tibial tendon runs along the inside of the ankle and foot. If this tendon is strained, your foot may hurt when it moves forward to push off the ground. Or you may feel pain when your heel shifts from side to side.

The outside of your foot

Side view of bones of lower leg and foot showing peroneal tendons.

The peroneal tendons wrap across the bottom of your foot, from the outside to the inside. Tendonitis here may cause pain when you stand or push off the ground. You may have pain when walking on uneven surfaces.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Cunningham RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Thomas N Joseph MD
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2021
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