Extensor Tendonitis – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Exercise
Inflammation of Extensor tendons of feet is commonly known as extensor tendonitis.
We could able to pull up the big toe and fingers of foot because of a muscle called extensor hallucis longus, which runs down from the knee to ankle over top of foot and divides in two part. One attaches to big toe while other part attaches to tips of the other fingers.
Tendon is nothing but a specialized tissues that connects muscles to the bone and fibrous in nature.
Most important functions of these tendons is 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 foot, tendonitis can be one of the cause for pain at top of foot.
Tight fitting shoes that creates pressure and irritation at top of foot may lead to extensor tendonitis.
Anatomical location of extensor tendons makes them prone to injuries, which lead to inflammation. This tendon runs from ankle to toes underneath the skin and above the bones of foot.
Constant pressure at the top of foot usually result in inflammation of tendons.
The most common causes of inflammation of extensor tendons are -
Poorly fitting shoes
Shoes that does not fit perfectly on feet and put pressure on top of foot causes inflammation of foot tissues including tendons which leads to tendonitis on top of foot.
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
Good foot biomechanics are most important thing when it comes to healthy foot.
Disturbed foot biomechanics not only cause tendonitis but may result into multiple types of foot pain. In some cases it also result into altered posture.
Calf tenderness can be due to variety of reasons. It can be caused by a simple injury to calf muscle, acute cramps, DOMS, or DVT.
Chronic calf muscle tightness may lead to tendonitis.
High Foot Arch
Having high foot arch or flat feet can also be a reason behind tendinitis.
Metatarsal stress fracture can also leads to the inflammation of tendons which is often called as metatarsal tendonitis.
- Top of foot pain.
- Foot pain that worsen with movement.
- Bruising, swelling and tenderness at top of foot.
- Discomfort while walking.
If you are wondering how to treat tendonitis in the foot then be assured, as this condition can be treated successfully with rest, proper exercises and pills.
Foot is the most common area of our body that exposes to repetitive movement. In such condition like inflammation of extensor tendons, taking rest is inevitable.
Rest provides enough times to body to heal properly and reduces inflammation. Bed rest reduces stress on foot and tendons, giving them chance to recover fast.
Applying Heat or Ice Compression
In acute conditions, ice compression can make wonders. Mayoclinic advice to apply ice compression in early stage of extensor tendinitis. 
Ice, work by anesthetizing local nerves of top of foot. It also help to reduce swelling of foot by constricting blood capillaries.
Ice compression must be applied only in early stage of tendinitis. Apply ice pack to affected area for 5 to 8 minutes. One can apply it every 6 hourly to get best results.
Repeat procedure for 2 to 3 days. 
Though ice compression can help in this condition, usually extensor tendinitis is a chronic disorder. So if you are experiencing pain since long time then ice compression will not help you.
Heat compression is useful in such scenario. Heat causes blood vessel to dilate, which increase blood flow to affected area and trigger speedy recovery.
Heat also act as local muscle relaxant.
Pay attention to Footwear
Good fitting shoes is crucial even though you are not suffering from any foot ailments.
A good shoes provide cushion to foot, comfort and may help to prevent certain foot conditions like tendinitis.
Before you buy a pair of shoes for yourself, consult your doctor to see if he can advice some personalized tips for you to chose a well fitting shoe.
Always opt for comfortable, well fitting shoe and avoid one that are too tight of bite to your feet. 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 work and one cannot recommend single brand to everyone as wearing shoes is matter of personalisation. (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 tendonitits.
Use soothing massage
Though it is not scientifically proven, in chronic conditions gentle massage across the top of foot may help to reduce pain.
Gentle massage improve blood flow of affected area and helps chronic tendinitis to heal better. It also helps to relieve pain.
Massage helps to stimulate natural repair mechanism of body that triggers healing.
How to massage for tendonitis?
Start slowly rubbing your fingers across the top of foot and gently rub the area. Always do the massage in perpendicular direction of tendons for better results.
Physiotherapy helps to relieve tightness in foot and calf muscles & tendons by stretching them at regular intervals.
There are three most common stretches that can help in this conditions, that are pencil lifting, forefoot press & toe flexion.
Watch this video for proper understanding of exercise -
Seek doctors advice
Yes, you need to see a doctor to get proper medication for your problem.
Doctor will take the history and provide anti-inflammatory medication as well as few other medicines that may be required in your case.
Tell the doctor exact condition of your foot and also provide history of allergy to medicine if you have any.
Doctor may ask you use some orthotics like shoe insole to provide support to your foot arch. This will relieve the tension in tendons to some extent.
If everything fails to give you relief, doctor may recommend steroid injections to reduce pain and inflammation.
How to prevent extensor tendonitis?
Any tendonitis can be prevented.
1 – http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tendinitis/expert-answers/tendinitis/faq-20057872 (Link) 2 – Questions and answers about bursitis and tendinitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bursitis. Accessed Aug. 25, 2014. (Link) 3 – Friction massage therapy for tendonitis by Paul Ingraham. https://www.painscience.com/articles/frictions.php (Link)