Top of the Foot Pain:

Extensor Tendonitis in Foot [Top of the Foot Tendonitis Treatment]

🦶Do you have extensor tendonitis top of the foot pain?🦶 We go over extensor tendonitis foot treatment, exercises, massage, and stretches!

Extensor Tendonitis Foot Pain Treatment Overview:

In this video, we review:

  • Extensor tendonitis foot treatment.
  • Extensor tendonitis foot exercises.
  • Extensor tendonitis foot massage.
  • Extensor tendonitis foot stretches.

Extensor Tendonitis Foot Swelling Infographic:

These are the top 5 causes of extensor tendonitis foot swelling:

dorsal foot pain treatment

Extensor tendonitis foot symptoms:

  • Extensor tendonitis is one of the main causes of pain to the top of the foot.
  • There is usually pain, and discomfort felt around the top of the foot and the front of the ankle.
  • Usually, we find that either the left foot experiences extensor tendonitis or the right foot experiences tendonitis more than both feet at the same time.
  • The pain usually builds gradually with runners or high activity, especially those with great physical demands.
  • It can be challenging to turn your toes upward and curled them up towards the ceiling or the sky.
  • Standing on your feet for long periods of time or running can make extensor tendonitis worse and make the pain feel worse.
  • Gradually the tendons also become weaker over time and become more painful.
    It is possible to see swelling to the top of the foot.
  • There may be extensor tendonitis injuries to the foot, but generally, it is a gradual chronic buildup of foot pain.
  • The most common symptoms of extensor tendonitis in the top of your foot are pain and discomfort in the top of your foot.
  • The uncomfortable sensation is usually felt at the midpoint or the top of your foot.
  • If there is swelling on top of the foot, then this is where you usually have a bump or lump on top of your foot.
  • One foot is usually more affected than the other foot.
  • One foot is usually in more pain because one foot is tighter than the other, and extensor tendons have to work hard to pull up against a tighter Achilles tendon or use that foot more than the other one.
Extensor tendinitis in the foot
This particular cause of extensor tendonitis in the foot is called the anterior tibialis tendon. Extensor tendonitis can lead to anterior tibial tendonitis. Extensor tendonitis can cause pain along the top and inside of the foot, as shown in this diagram.

Specific symptoms include:

  • Pain on the top of the foot (dorsal foot pain).
  • Diffuse swelling on the top of the foot.
  • Pain along the top of the foot is worse during running.
  • Pain when the tendons are passively stretched.
The Bone Spur On Top Of Foot HOME Treatment Guide!
A bone spur on top of your foot can happen in many different areas. There are two ways to get rid of the pain. Shave it or the easier way of good supportive orthotics and shoes. Removing the spur on top of the foot relieves the compressive pressure along the top of the foot! In this case, this is not extensor tendonitis. In this particular photo, the pain is caused by is navicular joint pain.
Extensor tendon anatomy consists of 4 major tendons that

Extensor tendon foot anatomy:

There are 4 major extensor tendons to the top of your foot. If these develop inflammation, they are called extensor tendonitis.
These 5 extensor tendons are:

  • Extensor hallucis longus, which goes to the big toe joint.
  • The extensor hallucis brevis, which is the shorter tendon tear big toe joint.
  • The extensor digitorum longus goes to your 4 small toes.
  • The extensor digitorium Brevis connects to the 4 small toes but does not cross the ankle.
  • In the tibialis anterior, which goes to the top inside of your foot.

These tendons work to lift your foot and turn it inward and outward slightly (depending on the tendon).

These extensor tendons can develop tendonitis if there is inflammation.

You could also develop an extensor tendon injury if you drop a knife or cut the top of your foot. Sometimes we see this in the clinic, but this is extremely rare to see an injured extensor tendon.

Extensor Tendonitis Top of the Foot Pictures:

What is extensor tendonitis of the foot:

  • The most common tendon inflamed and the top of your foot is your tibialis anterior tendon. 
  • The second most common is the extensor hallucis longest tendon. 
  • The third most common is the extensor digitorum longus tendon.
  • These tendons are most commonly inflamed in people working on hills or having to tilt their foot against a tight Achilles tendon contracture.
  • Extensor tendonitis is inflammation of the tendons which straighten the toes. They run along the top of the foot and are known as the extensor tendons.
Top of the foot extensor tendinitis
One of the most common causes of top-of-the-foot pain is top-of-the-foot extensor tendonitis. This font of the ankle and top of the foot pain is called tibialis anterior tendonitis.
 

Extensor Tendonitis Explained:

  • The muscles affected can be the Tibialis Anterior, Extensor Hallucis Longus, Extensor Hallucis Brevis.
  • Inflammation of the tibialis anterior is most common, but inflammation of the extensor digitorum muscles is also possible.
  • Another common cause of differential diagnosis is a navicular stress fracture.
  • If you think you have a navicular stress fracture the click on this link, we can help!

Extensor Tendonitis Causes:

  • Overuse.
  • Badly fitting shoes or shoes are laced far too tightly, causing pressure on the top of the foot.
  • It can also be caused by a change in training methods or running terrain, particularly hill running.
  • Running uphill means the extensor muscles must work harder to lift the foot, and downhill, they have to work harder eccentrically to slow the foot.
  • Running on icy or slippery surfaces can also be a cause.
Top of the foot nerve pain.
This picture is an example of the top of the foot nerve pain. This top of the foot sharp pain is most commonly the superficial peroneal nerve. Top of the foot nerve pain is different from extensor tendonitis in the foot, as the nerve usually gets trapped along with the bones of the top of your foot and against the top of your shoe.

Extensor tendon zones foot:

  • 5 muscles make up the extensor tendons on the top of the foot.
  • The most common extensor tendons that we see are the extensor hallucis longus and the extensor digitorum longus.
  • These 2 muscles extend from the front of your leg across the top of your ankle and insert into the tips of the top of your toes.
  • The second most common muscle that we see get extensor tendonitis is the tibialis anterior muscle.
  • The anterior tibialis muscle is a muscle that is responsible for turning your foot upward and inward. This muscle runs down the front of your leg and inserts onto the middle inside of your foot.
  • These are the 2 most common zones that we see for extensor tendonitis foot pain.

Extensor tendonitis on the side of the foot:

The most common site of the foot extensor tendonitis is the tibialis anterior is a big muscle that goes down the front of your leg and inserts on the middle inside of your foot. The same treatment options detailed in the video above will help you heal this extensor tendonitis inside the foot.

Extensor Tendonitis Treatment:

What can the athlete do about inflamed extensor tendons?

  • Rest until there is no more pain.
  • Apply ice or cold therapy.
  • Alter shoes or get shoes that fit properly!
  • Ensure shoelaces are not too tightly tied.
  • Pad the shoe in the forefoot to take the pressure off.
  • Follow a rehabilitation program, including strengthening the extensor muscles and stretching the calf muscles at the back of the lower leg.
Plantar fasciitis pain relief cryosphere
The silver sphere in this image is called the Cryosphere. The cryosphere is a ball that can be put in your freezer; it is very effective on your foot and ankle joints and tendons. The cryosphere works great because he can hold it with one hand and rub it against the soft tissue of your lower extremity, both massaging and icing.

What can a sports injury specialist or doctor do?

  •  Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen.
  • Consider the possibility of a metatarsal stress fracture (often pain on passive stretching indicates tendonitis, but the pain when the toes are pulled outwards might indicate a stress fracture).
  • If it is a long-term problem, your podiatrist may give a steroid injection.
  • In sporadic cases, surgery is performed.
  • If you are an athlete in Michigan, see a great sports medicine podiatrist!

KT tape for extensor tendonitis of the foot:

  • We love KT tape and think that it is excellent. But if possible, go with a good compression brace for your foot and ankle.
  • KT Tape can be beneficial to attach to the top of the foot, stimulating blood flow.
  • Overall, the problem is a hassle to put on the tape, and it is probably not the most practical thing to do long-term.
  • A compression ankle brace such as the ones listed in this article can be more effective and easier to slip on and put on the foot.

Extensor tendonitis foot stretches:

  • We are big fans of extensor tendonitis foot stretches.
  • If you watch the video above, we go into great detail and show exactly how to perform the extensor tendonitis foot stretches, including how to work on evaluating which foot is tighter and wide it is happening.
  • In the video, we go over the best extensor tendonitis foot exercises, and foot stretches.

Exercises for extensor tendonitis foot pain:

  • There is a proper time for exercises for extensor tendonitis of the foot.
  • We believe that initially, you should focus more on massaging your extensor tendons and relieving the inflammation.
  • As a few days or weeks go by, and the inflammation decreases for your extensor tendon pain, that is when exercise for extensor tendonitis foot pain makes sense.
  • The best exercises include stretching the Achilles tendon and the plantar fascia and the hamstrings to pressure off the extensor tendons.
  • At the end of the day, the extensor tendons are tiny muscles not designed to handle large workloads.
  • They are different than muscles such as our calf muscles or thigh muscles.

Extensor tendonitis foot wrap:

  • Rather than purchasing an Ace bandage or KT tape to perform an extensor tendonitis foot wrap, we recommend getting a good ankle compression brace.
  • An ankle compression brace will help control the swelling from your extensor tendonitis foot inflammation.
  • Studies show that foot wraps can effectively reduce swelling, but they do not necessarily improve healing.
  • The true goal is to heal the extensor tendonitis by preventing it from developing in the first place.
  • Wraps and compression braces can help control pain and swelling symptoms, but they will not heal the tendonitis alone.
  • The true goal is to find out the imbalance between your left or right leg and why that leg is having to work harder through its extensor tendons.

Extensor tendon injury to the foot:

  • We occasionally see injuries to the extensor tendons to the top of the foot.
  • Sometimes people drop a knife or lacerate the top of the foot.
  • An extensor tendon laceration or injury can be an emergency that does require surgery.
  • If you suffered a laceration and cannot bend her toes upward, we recommend seeing her podiatrist for an evaluation.

Extensor tendonitis foot splint:

  • If severe tendonitis is difficult to walk or run, extensor tendonitis foot splint or extensor tendonitis walking boot may be necessary.
  • If there is any concern about damage or laceration, we always recommend using an extensor tendonitis foot splint or extensor tendonitis boot to help as much as possible.

Extensor tendonitis foot braces:

  • If you have extensor tendonitis of the foot, a foot brace may be a good option.
  • Previously some people did prefer to wrap extensor tendonitis or tape extensor tendonitis, but we prefer a good foot brace.
  • There are 2 types of foot braces for extensor tendonitis.
  • There are compression ankle braces and stability ankle braces.
  • If you have severe pain or an injury, we would recommend a walking boot or a stability ankle brace.
  • But if it is a minor pain and swelling that develops, a better option may be a compression ankle brace for extensor tendonitis.
  • The following is the best foot braces for extensor tendonitis:

Best Heel & Ankle Compression For Pain Relief:
Best Premium Brace (Support & Compression)
Budget Brace With Some Compression & Some Support.
Best Pure Compression & Slim Fit Ankle Support
Bauerfeind - MalleoTrain - Ankle Support Brace - Helps Stabilize the Ankle Muscles and Joints For Injury Healing and Pain Relief - Right Foot - Size 1 - Color Black
PowerLix Ankle Brace Compression Support Sleeve (Pair) for Injury Recovery, Joint Pain and More. Plantar Fasciitis Foot Socks with Arch Support, Eases Swelling, Heel Spurs, Achilles Tendon
POWERLIX Ankle Brace Compression Support Sleeve (Pair) for Injury Recovery, Joint Pain and More. Achilles Tendon Support, Plantar Fasciitis Foot Socks with Arch Support, Eases Swelling
Price:
$80.00
$19.52
Price not available
Overview:
This is The Top Level Brace – Does Compression, Support & Great Fit.
This brace attempts mild compression and mild support.
Focused on great fit and excellent overall compression. Little focus on support.
Pros:
Excellent brace: Best overall mix of compression & support, and it still fits in most shoes! If you have a chronic injury and need to wear normal shoes => This is the BEST CHOICE.
Good rating at 4.3 with 2,000 reviews. It is cost effective and gives some support with some compression. Does both ok, but excellent when price is factored in.
Excellent reviewmost 2,000 5 star reviews. Great fit into almost any type of shoe. Very Slim, very cost effective.
Cons:
Expensive. It doesn’t do any single thing the best. There are cheaper and more supportive braces, there are cheaper and more compressive braces. But no braces combine the two and still fit in a shoe.
Does not really do anything well. Weak support and not the best compression. Meant as an assist for chronic pain and low activity. Not for an acute injury.
Does not really provide stability. It still likely is not thin enough for a dress shoe or a dress heel combined with a sock.
Important Tips:
This is a high durability brace for everyday use. If you have chronic arthritis or pain with a high need for activity, this is your brace to use! **Gel inside seems to deteriorate after daily washing at about 1 year old**
This is mean for lower activity and better fit than a true supportive brace. Don’t use this for an acute sprain or injury.
This is excellent for what it does. Which is simple compression with minimal support. This would be great with an orthotic and running shoe in a non-acute/severe injury.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Heel & Ankle Compression For Pain Relief:
Best Premium Brace (Support & Compression)
Bauerfeind - MalleoTrain - Ankle Support Brace - Helps Stabilize the Ankle Muscles and Joints For Injury Healing and Pain Relief - Right Foot - Size 1 - Color Black
Price:
$80.00
Overview:
This is The Top Level Brace – Does Compression, Support & Great Fit.
Pros:
Excellent brace: Best overall mix of compression & support, and it still fits in most shoes! If you have a chronic injury and need to wear normal shoes => This is the BEST CHOICE.
Cons:
Expensive. It doesn’t do any single thing the best. There are cheaper and more supportive braces, there are cheaper and more compressive braces. But no braces combine the two and still fit in a shoe.
Important Tips:
This is a high durability brace for everyday use. If you have chronic arthritis or pain with a high need for activity, this is your brace to use! **Gel inside seems to deteriorate after daily washing at about 1 year old**
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Heel & Ankle Compression For Pain Relief:
Budget Brace With Some Compression & Some Support.
PowerLix Ankle Brace Compression Support Sleeve (Pair) for Injury Recovery, Joint Pain and More. Plantar Fasciitis Foot Socks with Arch Support, Eases Swelling, Heel Spurs, Achilles Tendon
Price:
$19.52
Overview:
This brace attempts mild compression and mild support.
Pros:
Good rating at 4.3 with 2,000 reviews. It is cost effective and gives some support with some compression. Does both ok, but excellent when price is factored in.
Cons:
Does not really do anything well. Weak support and not the best compression. Meant as an assist for chronic pain and low activity. Not for an acute injury.
Important Tips:
This is mean for lower activity and better fit than a true supportive brace. Don’t use this for an acute sprain or injury.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):
Best Heel & Ankle Compression For Pain Relief:
Best Pure Compression & Slim Fit Ankle Support
POWERLIX Ankle Brace Compression Support Sleeve (Pair) for Injury Recovery, Joint Pain and More. Achilles Tendon Support, Plantar Fasciitis Foot Socks with Arch Support, Eases Swelling
Price:
Price not available
Overview:
Focused on great fit and excellent overall compression. Little focus on support.
Pros:
Excellent reviewmost 2,000 5 star reviews. Great fit into almost any type of shoe. Very Slim, very cost effective.
Cons:
Does not really provide stability. It still likely is not thin enough for a dress shoe or a dress heel combined with a sock.
Important Tips:
This is excellent for what it does. Which is simple compression with minimal support. This would be great with an orthotic and running shoe in a non-acute/severe injury.
Affiliate Link (Buying through these links will connect you to Amazon):

Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I wrap my foot for extensor tendonitis?

  • Wrapping your foot for extensor tendonitis can be very beneficial to reduce the swelling and pain, but this will not help it heal faster.
  • The key to the permanent healing of foot extensor tendonitis is to prevent stress on the extensor tendon in the first place. If you do want to control swelling, we have seen good results with compression ankle braces.
  • These can be low-cost compression braces for around $20 US or in this price range.
  • We attached some of our favorite braces in the links for treatment guides for ankle pain.
  • In summary, wrapping the foot for extensor tendonitis is not the most effective treatment. It is easier to get a low-cost compression brace that can slide on and off easily.

How to heal extensor tendonitis foot?

  • We have seen the best healing extensor tendonitis in the foot by first offloading the foot and cross-training. Cross-training and offloading the foot will reduce the inflammation of the foot.
  • Cross-training can be complemented by wearing a good supportive orthotic, a good supportive shoe, and potentially a good supportive ankle compression brace.
  • With the reach of these 3 supportive devices in place, the next step is to cross-train and take pressure off the foot extensor tendons.
  • If this orthotic and brace can reduce the pressure can do this gradually, you can shift the focus towards stretching and strengthening of the foot extensor tendons to remove any imbalances or problems that may be happening.

How to tape my foot for extensor tendonitis?

  • In the video, we go over our favorite braces in offloading devices.
  • We do not believe it is a good idea to ask how to wrap my foot for extensor tendonitis, but instead, purchase a low-cost foot compression brace.
  • This extensor tendonitis brace will help your extensor tendonitis to the top of the foot and save you a lot of time.