Peroneal Tendon Syndromes Follow-up
- Author: Steven J Karageanes, DO, FAOASM; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD more...
Return to Play
If surgery and/or casting is not required for a peroneal tendon injury, the patient can usually return to activity in 1-2 weeks with ankle bracing or taping until strength and function are back to 90-100% of the nonaffected ankle.
If surgery is performed, return to play with bracing or taping is usually allowed once the strength and function of the ankle has been rehabilitated to 90% of that in the nonaffected ankle. Once the ankle is close to 100%, the bracing/taping is usually not necessary but permitted.
In most sports injuries, return to play should be allowed when the ankle has a painless range of motion, normal or improved balance, preinjury muscle strength, and no pain with sport-specific functional testing.
Complications of conservative treatment of a peroneal tendon injury are progression of pain and instability, and possible peroneal tendon rupture. Surgical complications vary depending on the procedure. A few common ones include sural nerve injury, progression of symptoms, chronic lateral ankle pain, and loss of range of motion. Any surgery poses a risk of infection and failure of the intent of the procedure.
Several measures can be taken to prevent peroneal tendon injuries: (1) Good preexercise and postexercise stretching of the ankle, (2) a gradual increase in the level of activity or training, and (3) full rehabilitation of the ankle after any type of injury. These measures decrease the occurrence of ankle injury and, in turn, prevent peroneal tendon injury. Other interventions, such as attempting to correct foot abnormalities (eg, pes planus), also play an integral part in prevention.
The prognosis for improvement with conservative treatment is excellent if there is no functional instability requiring surgery. Surgical repairs for acute dislocation and chronic tears are also good. Casting for an acute dislocation has a success rate of only 50%. Therefore, this option should be reserved for patients with contraindications to surgery.
A study reviewed the long-term clinical and patient-reported outcomes of a cohort of patients with peroneal tendon tears treated with debridement and primary repair. The study of 18 patients with an average follow-up of 6.5 years found excellent long-term functional outcomes for patients with tears of the peroneal tendons treated with debridement and primary operative repair. The study also observed that the majority of patients returned to their previous level of activity without the need for reoperation or revision of the repair.
Educating patients about the importance of ankle rehabilitation after an injury is the cornerstone in the prevention of peroneal tendon injuries. Further, stressing the need to stretch before and after exercise is also important.
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