According to the article "Inflammation of the flexor tendons of the toes (flexor tendinitis)" by Sportsinjuryclinic.com, experts in tendon injuries, the flexor hallucis longus tendons (two of them) provide movement for the big toe. They extend beneath the foot and up the inside of the ankle. Tendonitis in these tendons can cause pain in the inside back of the ankle or in the foot arch area. Dancers and athletes are highly prone to this injury. Treatment usually includes a combination of rest, immobilization, ice, heat, medication and stretching exercises.
Rest, Ice and Heat
If you have flexor hallucis longus tendon pain, you should take time off from physical activities and rest your foot. During this time, you should use ankle braces or splints to limit movement in your foot. Within the first 48 hours after the onset of pain, use ice to control any inflammation or swelling. Ice causes vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels), which reduces inflammation and pain by limiting the flow of blood and lymph to the area. Ice is most effective if you compress it directly on the affected tendon at 20-minute intervals throughout the day (every three to four hours). Elevating your feet above your heart can also reduce swelling, inflammation and pain. Once the inflammation has subsided a bit, heat can promote blood (with its healing properties) flow to the flexor hallucis longus tendon.
Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve) can also help alleviate pain in the fexor hallucis longus tendons. These medications are Cox-2 inhibitors, which minimize inflammation and pain by limiting the affects of Cox-2 enzymes and prostaglandins, the body's natural inflammatory response to tendon irritation. If your pain is more severe, a doctor can prescribe oral steroids or give you a cortisone shot. Muscle relaxants may also be effective in alleviating pain.
Massage can also help reduce pain in the flexor hallucis longus tendon. Massage also promotes blood flow. Massage also reduces scar tissue and can loosen up the tight tendons for increased mobility.
Stretching exercises are one of the best ways to promote blood flow to a specific tendon. One of the best exercises for stretching the flexor hallucis longus tendons is to place your foot over the edge of a desk, table or mattress. Let your foot hand over the edge of the surface and slowly bend your foot away from your body. Hold that position for two to five seconds, then move your toes toward your body and stretch the tendons for the same time period. Repeat several times and gradually work up to more repetitions. Once you can handle simple stretching exercises, try performing some calf raises. Simply raise up on your toes then lower yourself back down. Later, do these exercises on a raised platform like steps. Calf raises will help strengthen the flexor hallucis longus tendon, ankle and calf muscle, providing more stability in your foot.