Foot tendonitis means inflammation and irritation of the tendons of the foot. A tendon is the band of fibrous tissue that attaches muscle to bone. Foot tendonitis is often painful and can become a serious problem if it recurs persistently.
It is caused by excessive strain on the foot area, which can be due to a variety of activities including running, walking or doing a job that requires excessive standing. Other contributing factors are poorly fitted shoes, bone spurs, aging, obesity and diabetes.
Symptoms of food tendonitis include sharp pain, tenderness, inflammation, swelling, restricted movement and weakness in the leg.
If you are experiencing symptoms of food tendonitis, it is important to see your doctor for proper treatment. There are also a few things that you can do at home to deal with this problem.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for foot tendonitis.
1. Ice Pack
Applying an ice pack on the affected area will greatly help reduce inflammation and pain associated with foot tendonitis. If you do not have ice, you can also use a bag of frozen vegetables or a cold spoon.
- Put some crushed ice in a plastic bag, and wrap the bag in a thin cotton towel.
- Place this cold pack on the inflamed area for about 15 minutes.
- Repeat this process a few times daily.
2. Olive Oil
Massaging your foot with olive oil can give you much relief from the pain and inflammation caused by foot tendonitis. It will also stimulate blood flow in and around the affected muscles. Apart from olive oil, you can also use sesame oil or mustard oil.
- Heat some olive oil until warm.
- Gently massage your foot with the warm oil for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Do this daily until the pain subsides.
3. Epsom Salt
Another simple way to treat foot tendonitis is to soak your foot in warm water mixed with Epsom salt. The heat of the warm water will have a wonderful healing effect on your foot, while the magnesium sulfate present in Epsom salt will provide magnesium to the body (it will be absorbed through the skin) and aid in healing the muscles and connective tissues; tendon is a type of connective tissue.
It will also promote relaxation and detoxification.
- Mix one-half cup of Epsom salt in a small tub filled with warm water and stir until the salt is dissolved. Soak your foot in this warm water for up to one hour. Repeat this remedy two to three times a week for a few weeks.
- Another option is to mix two tablespoons of Epsom salt in one cup of warm water. Soak a washcloth in this solution and place it on your foot as a compress for 15 to 20 minutes. You can do this daily until you are satisfied with the results.
Epsom salt can cause dryness, so apply some moisturizer on your foot after following either of these remedies.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another effective home remedy for tendonitis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Regular consumption of apple cider vinegar is also good for your overall health.
- Add two teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water.
- Mix in one teaspoon of honey.
- Drink this solution two to three times daily.
5. Vinegar Wraps
Alternating hot and cold vinegar wraps can help get rid of pain and inflammation caused by foot tendonitis as the heat treatment will reduce pain pain and relax sore muscles and the cold treatment will decrease inflammation. Vinegar, too, will work as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water and heat it in a large pan.
- In a separate pan or bowl, mix equal parts of vinegar and cold water.
- Soak a towel in the hot mixture, wring it out and wrap it around your foot for five to 10 minutes.
- Then soak the towel in the cold mixture and follow the same procedure.
- Repeat the sequence three times.
- Apply some moisturizer afterwards.
6. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is a rich source of a chemical known as capsaicin, a natural pain reliever. The warming effect of cayenne pepper is also very soothing.
- Mix two tablespoons of cayenne pepper in one-half cup of warm olive oil.
- Apply this mixture on the affected area and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off.
- Do this a few times daily the condition improves.
Note: Do not apply cayenne pepper on open skin or wounds.
7. Carbonated Water
To get rid of the acute pain caused by foot tendonitis, you can use carbonated water as well.
- Soak your foot in sugarless carbonated water for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Do this twice daily. This can be very refreshing and relieve pain and inflammation.
Sage has many curative properties that can be used in the treatment of foot tendonitis. It has a soothing effect and can relieve pain and inflammation.
- Rub some fresh sage leaves together gently in your palms to crush them. Boil the leaves in two-thirds cup of apple cider vinegar for a few minutes, and then simmer for another five minutes. Remove from heat, soak a clean piece of cotton cloth in the solution and wring out the excess water. Place the cloth on the affected area for 10 minutes.
- You can also use dried sage leaves to make a cup of sage tea. To make this tea, steep one teaspoon of dried sage leaves in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes and then strain it. Drink this tea two or three times daily.
Asparagus works as a natural diuretic, helping flush out excess fluid from your system. Reducing excess fluid will help relieve the pain, swelling and inflammation.
When suffering from foot tendonitis, you must regularly eat fresh asparagus. You can also steam two or three fresh asparagus and eat them. Along with asparagus, eat fresh fish and yogurt in order to deal with bloated and swollen feet.
Chickweed is also a popular folk remedy for foot tendonitis. This herb has a number of vitamins and nutrients that help reduce the inflammation, pain, stiffness and tenderness caused by foot tendonitis.
- Make a paste of this herb and apply it on the affected area. Leave it on for a few minutes, and then wash the area with lukewarm water. Do this twice daily for a few days or until you get relief.
- You can also drink chickweed tea several times a day. To make this tea, steep two or three tablespoons of fresh chickweed in a cup of hot water for 15 to 20 minutes and then strain and drink the tea. If you have this herb in dried form then steep two teaspoons of dried chickweed in a cup of water for about five minutes to make the tea. Chickweed tea will help to reduce the level of pain, thus improving your mobility.
To conclude, these home remedies will help resolve foot tendonitis to a great extent. Needless to say, you also need to give the affected area ample rest. However, if the pain worsens or continues even after trying the remedies, consult a doctor.
Expert Answers (Q&A)
Answered by Dr. Maneesh Bhatia, MBBS, FRCS (Ed), FRCS (Orthopedic Surgeon)
What does foot tendonitis mean?
This is inflammation of a tendon in foot leading to pain and swelling.
What is the most common form of foot tendonitis?
It involves the tendon known as “Tibialis posterior”. This is located on the inside of leg just behind the ankle bone.
Who does it affect?
It affects mainly females between 40-70 years.
What are at the risk factors?
Obesity, flat feet, diabetes and hypertension are commonly associated. However, it can be seen in patients without these risk factors.
Why is it important to identify and treat it?
If untreated, it can lead to deformity and arthritis.
How is it diagnosed?
In most cases clinical examination by a foot and ankle specialist is enough to diagnose it. Sometimes an ultrasound or MRI scan is undertaken to confirm it.
How is it treated?
In early stages it is treated by rest and anti-inflammatory medicines. A walker boot or plaster might be helpful to rest the foot.
What exercises are helpful?
Bending the foot down & pushing it in with or without resistance strengthens this tendon. A physiotherapist can guide you to do the exercises correctly.
What is the role of surgery?
If diagnosed late, the tendon becomes weak or is torn. In these cases surgery might be required.
What does the surgery involve?
It involves transfer of another foot tendon and shifting the heel bone in correct position. One needs to have the plaster on for 6 weeks after this operation.
How long will it take for foot tendonitis to heal?
It is variable. It can take from weeks to months.
What are the long term effects of an untreated case of foot tendonitis?
Untreated foot (tibialis posterior) tendonitis can lead to foot deformity. This then needs surgery, which is called tibialis posterior reconstruction. If arthritis sets in, then it needs fusion surgery of joints.
Which compress, cold or hot, is beneficial for foot tendonitis pain?
Cold compress is better as it reduces inflammation and swelling.
About Dr. Maneesh Bhatia, MBBS, FRCS (Ed), FRCS (Orth): Dr. Bhatia is a Consultant Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle surgeon at University Hospitals Leicester NHS Trust, Spire Leicester and Nuffield Leicester Hospitals in UK.
He is senior examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons. He is also the editor of “An Orthopaedics guide for today’s GP” and “Musculoskeletal injections and alternative options”. Along with being involved in a number of research projects, he is also an advisor for National Institute of Health Research in UK. Dr. Bhatia is scientific committee member of British Orthopaedic Foot Ankle and European Foot Ankle societies along with being the Education Secretary of British Indian Orthopedic Society.