Could peroneal tendon pain really be a nerve problem? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
Today’s question actually comes from one of the YouTube viewers named John, who wrote in with a comment on one of the other videos related to peroneal tendon pain. And this is a great question.
He said ”I’m experiencing discomfort in my fifth metatarsal/peroneal tendon below the ankle. There is no swelling. However, upon hamstring stretch, especially in a downward dog position, this area feels like it’s on fire. The fact that I cannot do downward dog right now, with my right heel down. I’m starting to think this may be a nerve. It’s been hurting for about 10 days.”
A couple of important things from this number one, it’s good for John to start thinking about other things. The first thing is, is that if you have a peroneal tendon injury, any kind of tendon injury, that tendon obviously if it’s injured, it should hurt when you stress or stretch the tendon. Also with many tendon injuries, particularly peroneal tendonitis, if you do have a peroneal tendon injury, they tend to swell.
So, if you have no swelling at all, and particularly if you actually palpate or push on the tendon and you don’t have any pain at all, well, you need to start thinking about the other possibilities and one of those is a nerve problem.
What John figured out is that when he puts himself in a position which puts traction on the nerve, predictably, it seems to cause this pain and it feels like it’s on fire. Well, when I hear somebody say something like I have burning pain, it feels like it’s on fire, it feels like an electrical sensation or radiating pain or tingling. All of those things suggest that it’s probably a nerve problem and not a musculoskeletal problem like a tendon injury.
If you can’t really tell what’s going on and you got to really start evaluating this if you’re going to get back to running. So, if you think you have pain at the base of the fifth metatarsal and you think it’s a stress fracture, obviously if you push hard on the metatarsal, it should hurt. If it doesn’t hurt, the pain could be coming from somewhere else. And it’s actually referred pain that’s along the course of the nerve that actually innervates or serves that area.
So, John, thanks for posting your comments. This is an interesting topic you brought up and if you enjoy this topic, please like, and subscribe and share this with a runner who needs to hear it. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you in the next training.