Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

Footech President

Jacques Martin, D.S.S., B.Sc., C.Ped.
President, Footech Inc., Certified Pedorthist

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

The posterior tibial tendon attaches the calf muscle to the bones on the inside of the foot, holding up the arch to support the foot when walking. The tendon can be torn or become inflamed as a result of acute injury or overuse, which may cause the arch of the foot to collapse over time. Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is more common in women and in people over the age of forty. Risk factors include obesity, diabetes, and participation in high impact sports. The symptoms of posterior tibial tendonitis include pain and/or swelling on the inside of the foot and ankle, and pain that worsens with activity. Pain can also occur on the outside of the ankle as a result of pressure caused by shifts in the heel bone. A physical examination may demonstrate changes in the shape of the foot, collapsed arches and tilted heels. The range of motion of the ankle may also be inhibited.

The tendon is located in an area where blood supply is weak, which can lengthen the healing process. The initial treatment of the condition focuses on resting the foot. However, even normal walking may not allow for the tendon to rest sufficiently. Foot orthotics are the most commonly used treatment for sufferers of posterior tibial tendonitis, and can prevent further aggravation of the tendon or the need for braces and surgery. Orthotics provide a platform for the foot, preventing motion between the mid and hindfoot, decreasing the inflammation associated with posterior tibial tendonitis.

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