Nonsurgical treamtment for peroneal tendon subluxations helps control symptoms. However, nonsurgical treatment of acute subluxations in active patients is successful only about 50 percent of the time. Chronic cases of peroneal subluxation that have not responded to nonsurgical measures generally require surgery.
If the injury is acute, treatment without surgery may involve placing the ankle in a short-leg cast for four to six weeks. The goals are to allow the torn retinaculum to heal and to prevent chronic subluxation. Doctors may have their patients begin Physical Therapy once the cast is removed.
Your doctor may also prescribe medications. Anti-inflammatory medications can help ease pain and swelling and get you back to activity sooner. These medications include common over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen.
Many patients with peroneal tendon subluxation will eventually require surgery, especially when symptoms have not been controlled with nonsurgical measures.
Retinaculum repair is gaining popularity. This procedure restores the normal anatomy of the retinaculum that covers and reinforces the tendon sheath around the peroneal tendons.
In surgery to repair the retinaculum, the surgeon first makes an incision along the back and lower edge of the fibula bone. This lets the surgeon see the spot where the retinaculum is torn.
The surgeon uses a burr to create a trough along the fibula bone next to the original attachment of the retinaculum. The torn edge of the retinaculum is then pulled into the trough and sutured in place. The skin is closed with stitches.
Groove reconstruction is done to deepen the groove so the peroneals stay in place behind the bottom tip of the fibula. In this procedure, the surgeon first makes an incision along the back and lower edge of the fibula bone.
The surgeon cuts a small flap in the bone near the bottom corner of the fibula. The surgeon then carefully folds the flap back, like a hinge. With the hinge held open, the doctor scoops out a small amount of bone under the flap to deepen the groove.
Deepen the Groove
The surgeon closes the flap on its hinge and tamps it in place. A screw may be used to hold the flap down.
Closing the Flap
Next, the tendons are returned to their location behind the tip of the fibula. Repair of the retinaculum may also be required with this procedure (see above). The skin is closed and sutured.
The purpose of a bony block is to form a barrier that keeps the tendons from slipping out of place. The block is usually formed with bone taken from the lower end of the fibula bone.
To create a bony block, the surgeon opens the skin along the lower edge of the fibula. The surgeon then measures a small area on the back of the fibula, near the lower tip of the bone. A special tool is used to cut this small section of the fibula. The cut only goes partway through the bone.
The surgeon slides the small block of bone backward, out of its original spot. The bone may be rotated slightly to create a solid barrier that will help keep the tendons from sliding around the lower edge of the fibula. A screw is inserted through the small block of bone into the fibula. The screw keeps the bony block in its new location until it heals.
The surgeon checks the fit to make sure the tendons can glide behind the new block of bone without slipping out of place. The skin is then closed and sutured.