Extensor Tendonitis Tendinopathy
Tendinopathy is a comparatively new term, which is used to denote both tendonitis and tendinosis collectively. Both these conditions lead to pain and swelling on the upper surface of the foot.
Tendonitis refers to the inflammation of the tendons (the strong fibrous extensions of the muscles that attach them to the bones). Inflammation is the process by which the body protects itself against damage from trauma, stress or infections.
Tendinosis, on the other hand, refers to a deterioration/weakening of the tendon, micro tears occur in the tendon tissue that fail to heal and lead to pain and disability.
In the initial stages of tendinosis, there may also be inflammation. However, usually tendon pain is the result of tendinosis (tendon injury) rather then tendonitis (inflammation).
The extensor tendons of the toes are actually the fibrous extensions of the muscles that are located on the front side of the lower leg and help to extend the toes. There are two main extensor tendons: the extensor hallucis longus tendon (extends the big toe) and the extensor digitorum longus tendon (extends the four small toes).
Both the tendons pass in front of the ankle and travel along the upper surface of the foot, finally inserting into the toe bones. These tendons extend the toes during walking or climbing.