There are three peroneal muscles in the lower leg. These muscles attach to the tibia and fibula bones on the outside of the lower leg. The tendons of these muscles pass around the outside of the ankle and attach into the foot. These tendons are a part of the “stirrup muscles” that work to support the arch of the foot. They also function to move the foot in an outward direction. One of these tendons attach into the base of the fifth metatarsal. The fifth metatarsal is the long bone behind the fifth toe.
Pain on the outside of the foot can be the result of inflammation of the peroneal tendons. In children this can cause tenderness at the base of the fifth metatarsal, which is located in the middle of the outside of the foot. Peroneal tendonitis can also cause pain along the outside of the foot and outside of the ankle.
The causes of peroneal tendonitis are excessive calf muscle tightness, twisting of the foot or ankle and chronic abnormal foot function. In many instances the cause of the tendon inflammation is not evident.
In mild cases of peroneal tendonitis rest and an oral inflammatory medication is sufficient. In more acute cases cast immobilization may be necessary. Long-term treatment includes regular calf muscle stretching and an insert for the shoes called orthotics. On occasion the peroneal tendon may sublux over the outside of the ankle. This condition is called subluxing peroneal tendon. This condition often requires surgical correction.
If you have any further questions make an appointment with a podiatrist in your area.