The Top of My Foot Hurts Badly. What Do I Have?

If you wake up one morning to intense pain when trying to flex your foot, you are likely wondering what this type of pain is and what you should do to treat it.

If your affected foot looks noticeably different from your opposite foot, the top of your foot hurts severely when trying to point your foot outwards, and the pain also occurs when putting on a certain shoe, you may have a condition known as extensor tendonitis.

What Is Extensor Tendonitis?

Your feet, as well as your hands, have what are called extensor tendons, which help your wrists, ankles, and appendages move.

These tendons in your foot are located on top with very little protection from outside forces compared to other tendons, making them very vulnerable as a result.

Extensor tendonitis occurs when one or both of these tendons in your feet become damaged.

When extensor tendonitis occurs, the affected extensor tendon weakens and also limits your ability to perform actions such as run or jump, and trying to do so will result in a burning sensation in the foot.

In most cases, people with extensor tendonitis can still walk and stand with minimal or no pain.

If you continue to perform actions that involve heavy use of this injured tendon, the pain will tend to continue.

Also, your foot will tend to be slightly swollen. Your foot will not be discolored like with many cases of swelling, but your ankle and the top of your foot will appear slightly bigger than normal.

What Causes Extensor Tendonitis?

So, what may have caused this extensor tendonitis in your foot or feet? There are two common causes.

The first is wearing shoes that involve the tongue or laces pressing into your tendon. With extensor tendonitis, you will definitely feel the pain as you put on and wear the shoe again.

To prevent these shoes from causing you further foot pain, either tinker with the tongue or laces until they no longer hurt, or wear a different pair of shoes from now on.

The other cause involves running up a hill or other slope constantly. If you often run uphill, you likely have been running up a slope too steep or for too long.

How Do I Treat Extensor Tendonitis?

There are many ways you can treat extensor tendonitis so that you can recover quicker. The most common form of treatment for extensor tendonitis is resting.

Try to rest as often as you can and limit your daily activities to standing and walking.

There are exercises in the form of leg stretches that you can do so that you can regain strength in your tendon.

Quad, hamstring, and inner thigh stretches can help circulate blood to the foot all without having to stretch the foot itself.

If you attempt to resume activity with an injured tendon that involves continued use of your injured tendon, it will take longer for your foot to recover.

To reduce the swelling, you can apply a bag of ice or frozen vegetables to your injured foot at various times a day.

For ice, put it in a place bag and wrap the bag with a paper towel. Do not place the ice directly onto your foot.

To relieve pain temporarily and to help reduce swelling, you can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs several times per day.

One NSAID you probably already own is ibuprofen.

If not, it is widely available in drug, grocery, and big box stores near your home.

How Long Can Extensor Tendonitis Last?

There are mild and severe cases of extensor tendinitis. Mild cases can last a couple of weeks and will go away on their own.

More severe cases will not go away after conventional treatments, so if this is the case, you will need to see your podiatrist for ankle surgery in Houston if the pain and swelling are still present.

Extensor tendonitis in the foot can be a very painful and nagging injury, so try not to work and exercise through the pain and get as much rest as possible.

Talk to your podiatrist if the pain does not stop or die down for a week or two.