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Peroneal Tendonitis and Chronic Ear Infections

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Hi everyone!


i suspect I may have gluten sensitivity but I feel like my symptoms don’t seem like typical celiac symptoms.


In short, over a year ago I was wearing cheap flip flops and, without injury, started to experience the worst ankle pain of my life. I figured it was my own fault for wearing cheap sandals and switched to sneakers, reared my ankle etc. Strangely, nothing seemed to work. Ibuprofen, rest, better shoes, ice, heat, nothing. The pain always occurred when I walked for more than 5 minutes at a time. I found it so strange because I didn’t have an injury, it was sudden, and nothing I did stopped the pain. 

I usually walk everywhere and this sudden pain was debilitating. I gained tons and tons of weight (about 50 pounds VERY rapidly) because walking was my primary form of exercise. I attempted to join a gym but any kind of cardio machine resulted in absolute agony. I went on keto and, almost like magic, the pain was gone. I forgot it was even a thing that had happened. 

I didn’t find keto sustainable (I didn’t like limiting my fruit and veggie intake!) so I went off. A week later, the pain was back. I attributed it to stress at work (I went off keto around a very busy time in my line of work). However, I suddenly developed a rash on my neck (like a dry red patch right on my neck) and, more annoyingly, an ear infection that made me completely deaf in one ear for some time. I hadn’t had an ear infection since childhood but, again, I assumed it was from the cold and dry winter weather. 

The ear infection kept coming back! I’d go on a round of antibiotics and every six weeks, almost like clockwork, it would come back with a vengeance. It has come back several times in the last 6 months and my doctors honestly haven’t understood what’s happening. As you can imagine I was miserable. I was still 50 pounds overweight, in horrendous pain every time I walked for more than 5 minutes, and I was having chronic ear infections. I was quarantined for two weeks and I thought that resting it for that long would cure it but, nope, it was just as painful the moment I started waking again. 

I had another ear infection about a month ago and, this time, they gave me prednisone for inflammation. Immediately, my ankle pain went away. The moment I went off of it, it came back. So I realized how much of my pain was inflammation.


My boyfriend pointed out that the only other time I had no pain was while I was on keto so I had perhaps cut out a food that caused inflammation/an allergic reaction. I went to a doctor for the pin, finally, and I was diagnosed with peroneal tendonitis, and basically was told to stretch the ankle a lot for treatment (which I had been doing all along). I was still eating dairy etc on keto...but, of course, no high-carb foods, many of which contained gluten. So, figuring I had nothing to lose at this point, I cut out gluten. Within about 3 days I was suddenly pain-free. I’ve been pain-free for a few weeks now, which has been unheard of for me (Aside from when I was on keto or prednisone, I had pain every single day). I have been able to go on walks again and it’s incredible, I never thought something as simple as cutting out gluten could help so much. The rash is starting to go away as well, and I guess I still don’t know if I’m going to get another ear infection (time will tell) but I can’t help but wonder if that was tied to gluten as well, since the infections started almost immediately once I stopped eating keto. 


i guess the thing is, I feel like my symptoms are strange. I have friends with celiac and I know most of their symptoms are gastrointestinal. I hadn’t had gastrointestinal issues during all of this (aside from maybe once in a while, and heartburn very often that has since gone). I don’t know what the deal is. I guess I’m wondering if things like chronic ear infections/tendinitis are symptoms of celiac/sensitivity and if so, if they’re still symptoms if I don’t really have particularly bad gastrointestinal problems. 


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Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

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Celiac disease can manifest symptoms in many ways, and the most common ones show up in the gut, skin, and brain/nervous system. 

The only way to be really sure would be to get a blood test for this, but that would involve going back on gluten again daily for 4 to 6 weeks. If you are certain that your symptoms are much better without gluten, and can stay at 100% gluten-free without a diagnosis, there may be no need for you to get a diagnosis. 

Getting a diagnosis would allow for follow-up care/tests by your doctor, however it would also be a pre-existing condition for any private life or health insurance you get in the future, so private insurance could be more expensive and harder to attain.

Scott Adams

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

Founder Celiac.com

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