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Tendons are fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones or other body parts. When muscles contract, tendons pull on bones to make them work. The tendons have a protective covering, or sheath. The lining of this sheath secretes a fluid to lubricate the tendon. When the lining becomes inflamed, the tendon cannot glide smoothly in its covering. This inflammation is called tenosynovitis.

The tendons on the top of the foot are susceptible to tenosynovitis. Friction from too-tight shoelaces, a direct blow, or overuse strain can cause irritation to the tendon sheath. As a result, overstretching the tendons or pointing the toes downward results in pain. Redness and tenderness appear over the inflamed tendon. Touching the tendon while moving your foot gives a feeling of a slight grating sensation. Redness and tenderness appear over the injured part.

To prevent this condition, inspect your shoes on a regular basis. Check for tightness over the mid-foot, damaged lacing eyelets, or roughness of shoe tongues. Shoe tongues can be padded for protection.

Treatment by a physician may include an injection or physiotherapy treatment. You should avoid painful activities and overstretching until the pain and grating have subsided. Recovery is usually complete within six weeks; however, prolonged healing may result if activity is resumed too soon.

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