Extensor Tendonitis – Braces, Treatment, Recovery & More

Extensor tendonitis is defined as an inflammation of extensor tendons. These tendons are found in hands and feet.

In this article, we will discuss the foot extensor tendonitis, its causes, symptoms, treatment, and what are the best braces for extensor tendonitis.

We could able to move the big toe and fingers of the foot in the upward direction due to the muscle called extensor hallucis longus.

This muscle begins from the knee and runs down to ankle over top of the foot and divides in two-part. One attaches to big toe while the other part attaches to tips of the other fingers.

Forbidden Fitness SecretsTendons are made from specialized tissue that connects muscles to the bone and fibrous in nature.

The most important functions of these tendons are to attach muscles to bone, provide stability foot bone and helping us to pull the toes in the upward direction.

As these tendons run across the top part of the foot, tendonitis can be one of the causes of pain at top of the foot.

Tight-fitting shoes that create pressure and irritation at top of the foot may lead to extensor tendonitis.

Top 7 Best Extensor Tendonitis Foot Brace

Here are the top 7 braces that can help you in extensor tendonitis of foot.

BioSkin Trilok Ankle Brace

Review of BioSkin Trilok Ankle Brace

Bioskin Trilok ankle brace available in five different sizes that allow users to choose the one that best fits their ankle.

It helps to support, stabilize and reduce inflammation of the ankle. Made from lycra & polyester material, it has a micro-fleece lined compression sleeve that enhances the ankle compression.

Effective ankle compression helps injured ankle to combat the swelling, inflammation, and pain by increasing blood flow towards the joint.

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Crucial Compression Ankle Support Sleeve

Crucial compression ankle Sleeve

This ankle brace compression support sleeve is an ideal compression sock for ankle swelling, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and extensor tendonitis.

These are lightweight and breathable socks that you can wear while walk, running or playing outdoor sports. It can be used for ankle injury prevention or to treat the ankle swelling caused ankle trauma.

It is available in three different sizes and they are based on US shoe size. The size of these compression sleeves differs for men and women.

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Bracoo Ankle Support

Bracoo ankle support sleeves are made from breathable neoprene and have an open-heel design. It comes with adjustable straps that can be wrapped around the ankle to provide maximum ankle stabilization and compression.

Neoprene serves a thermal insulator and helps the ankle to stay warm and ankle compression boosts blood circulation. Increased blood circulation and local thermal insulation enhance the metabolization of lactic acid and reduce the inflammation.

With adjustable straps and versatile design, Bracoo ankle sleeves can be termed as one of the best ankle stabilizers in the market. It comes in 4 different sizes that range from the small, medium, large to extra-large.

Bracoo ankle support sleeves can serve as ideal ankle support in the case of ankle injuries, sprain, ligament injuries, extensor tendonitis, arthritis, and preventing sports-related injuries.

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Med Spec ASO Ankle Stabilizer

Mostly popular among healthcare providers to avoid ankle sprain and related complications, Med Spec ASO ankle stabilizer comes with several useful features that can benefit users.

The first and foremost feature that we like is its low profile design that can fit in any type of shoes. Its bilateral design allows the user to wear the brace in both sides foot. It comes with the stabilizing straps that form figure-eight to compress, protect and support the ankle joint.

Apart from this, it has a ballistic nylon boot that enhances its durability and stability. The elastic cuff closure secures the lace in place.

It can be best used to treat and avoid the ankle sprain and usually can be a good pick for athletes to avoid ankle injuries. It is one of the best braces for extensor tendonitis of the foot.

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Causes

Anatomical location of extensor tendons makes them prone to injuries, which lead to inflammation. Constant pressure at the top of the foot usually results in inflammation of tendons.

The most common causes of inflammation of extensor tendons are –

Poorly fitting shoes

Shoes that do not fit perfectly on feet and put pressure on top of the foot can cause an inflammation of the foot tissues and tendon which leads to extensor tendonitis.

Tight Shoelace

As like tight shoes, keeping shoelace too tight all the time also leads to tendon injuries. So, find a sweet spot while tying a shoelace, don’t keep it too tight or too loose.

Altered Biomechanics of Foot

Disturbed foot biomechanics not only cause tendonitis but may result in multiple types of foot pain. In some cases, it can result in an altered posture.

Calf Tenderness

Calf tenderness can be due to a variety of reasons. It can be caused by a simple injury to the calf muscle, acute cramps, DOMS, or DVT.

Chronic calf muscle tightness may lead to tendonitis.

High Foot Arch

Having a high foot arch or flat feet can also be a reason behind tendinitis.

A metatarsal stress fracture can also lead to the inflammation of tendons which is often called metatarsal tendonitis.​

Symptoms

  • Top of foot pain.
  • Foot pain that worsens with movement.
  • ​Bruising, swelling and tenderness at top of the foot.
  • Discomfort while walking.

Treatment

The most recommended treatment for extensor tendonitis is to provide adequate rest, support and pain relief to the painful tendon.

Once the pain subsides, your healthcare provider may ask you to practice some foot exercises to strengthen the tendon.

Foot Rest

Foot commonly exposes to repetitive movement. In such a condition, rest helps to reduce the inflammation of extensor tendons.

It provides enough time to heal the tendon and reduces stress on foot which results in the fast recovery.

Applying Heat or Ice Compression

In acute conditions, ice compression helps to reduce the inflammation. Mayoclinic advice to apply ice compression in the early stage of extensor tendinitis.

Ice, work by anesthetizing local nerves at the top of the foot, reduce swellings and lowers the pain.

Ice compression must be applied only in the early stage of tendinitis. Apply ice pack to the affected area for 5 to 8 minutes. One can apply it every 6 hourly to get the best results.

Repeat procedure for 2 to 3 days.

Though ice compression can help in this condition, usually extensor tendonitis is a chronic disorder. So if you are experiencing pain for a long time then ice compression will not help you.

Heat compression is useful in such a scenario. Heat causes the blood vessel to dilate, which increases blood flow to the affected area and triggers speedy recovery.

Heat also acts as a local muscle relaxant.

Pay attention to Footwear

Good fitting shoes is crucial even though you are not suffering from any foot ailments. Good shoes provide cushion, comfort and may help to prevent certain foot conditions like tendinitis.

Before you buy a pair of shoes, consult your podiatrist to see if he can advise some personalized tips for you to choose a well-fitting shoe.

Always opt for comfortable, well-fitting shoes and avoid ones that are too tight. Tight shoes usually produce unnecessary pressure on feet that may result in tendonitis. Also never tie shoelace too tight.

But, the matter of fact that choosing a well-fitting, comfortable shoe is a tedious job and one cannot recommend a single brand to everyone as wearing shoes is a matter of personalization. (Because one size and shape does not fit to all)

It is hard to find a single shoe that can help everyone who suffers from tendonitis, Brooks made some good shoes that can help but these are not only the best shoes for extensor tendonitis.

Use soothing massage

Though it is not scientifically proven, in chronic conditions gentle massage across the top of the foot may help to reduce pain.

Gentle massage improves the blood flow of the affected area and helps chronic tendinitis to heal better. It also helps to relieve pain.

Massage helps to stimulate the natural repair mechanism of the body that triggers healing.

How to massage for tendonitis?

Start slowly rubbing your fingers across the top of the foot and gently rub the area. Always do the massage in the perpendicular direction of tendons for better results.

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy helps to relieve tightness in foot, calf muscles & tendons by stretching them at regular intervals.

There are three most common stretches that can help in these conditions, that are pencil lifting, forefoot press & toe flexion.

Toe Flexion

​As the name suggests this procedure starts by flexing your toes.

Means stand on feet and press both toes in a downward direction.

Hold this position for 5 seconds then repeat again for 5 to 10 times.

Forefoot Press

Keep back of foot on a 2-inch thick book while keeping the front half on weighing scale.

Then slowly press the front part of the foot on the weighing scale and keep increasing pressure until you can tolerate it. Repeat this for 8 to 10 times.

This exercise put extensor tendon to work and help to strengthen them.

Pencil Lift Exercise

It seems simple but is an effective exercise that only requires a pencil as a tool.

To perform this stretch, keep the pencil on the ground and try to pick it up using your toe.

Once you pick the pencil hold it for 5 to 7 seconds, and then repeat the procedure 10 times.

Seek doctors advice

Your doctor will record the history and may provide anti-inflammatory medication as well as few other medicines.

Tell the doctor the exact condition of your foot and also provide a history of allergy to medicine if you have any.

The doctor may ask you to use some orthotics like shoe insole to provide support to your foot arch. This will relieve the tension in tendons to some extent.

Steroid injections

If everything fails to give you relief, the doctor may recommend steroid injections to reduce pain and inflammation.

How to prevent extensor tendonitis?

Any tendonitis can be prevented. To prevent extensor tendonitis –

  • Exercise regularly but avoid doing vigorous exercise that puts sudden pressure on tendons
  • ​Opt for exercise that helps to strengthen the muscles and tendons.
  • Pay attention to your daily activity that causes pain in joints of muscles. If possible stop doing them or take adequate rest between two activities that lead to pain.
  • Pay attention to your posture. Inadequate posture may lead to tendonitis.
  • Use shoes that fits comfortably to your foot.

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References:
[01] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445129/
[02] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9682077/
[03] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24651290
[04] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2786815/
[05] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9031023