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Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

This article does not constitute as medical advice.
If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor or make an appointment.

What is Posterior Tibial Tendonitis?

The posterior tibial tendon attaches the calf muscles to the bones in the foot. Its function is to provide support for the arch and hold up the muscles in the foot. Inflammation or tearing of this tendon causes pain and poor foot support, known as posterior tibial tendonitis. Over time it can result in a flat foot or arthritis. This condition is one of the most common foot and ankle problems.

Causes of Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

This condition commonly occurs when people overexert themselves or spend too much time on their feet. Here, the tendon becomes inflamed and irritated, leading to PTTD after a time. 

  • Overuse: Gradual wear and tear with overuse of the tendon. For example, athletes or highly active people tend to develop this condition. 
  • Injury or falling: The trauma experienced in the foot or ankle cause inflammation. If patients do not adequately treat the injury, PTTD is at a higher risk of developing. 
  • Excess weight: Those who are obese or overweight put extra repeated pressure on the foot and ankle, leading to wear and tear of the tendon. 
  • Improper training: Inadequately warming up and cooling down when training for a sport can lead to PTTD. Additionally, the sudden increase in the intensity of workouts provokes injury. 

Symptoms of Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

PTTD is associated with pain in the foot, ankle, and calf. Discomfort worsens if left untreated. Therefore, be sure to seek treatment early when you first start to experience symptoms! Be on the lookout for: 

Pain: Patients tend to experience pain in the lower leg and ankle, especially when moving uphill or going up the stairs. Pain will worsen with increased activity. 

Redness and swelling: When the injury first occurs, redness and swelling may appear on the foot or ankle. 

Flattened arches: In the later stages of this condition, the foot’s arch will flatten out. Consequently, having less support in the foot with flat arches can lead to more injuries down the road. 

Treating Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

If caught early, those with PTTD can treat it at home with rest and proper support. However, many patients with this injury are athletes or other active people, so slowing down can be challenging! Without a suitable resting period, symptoms can worsen, and surgery may be required. 

At-Home Treatment: 

  •  RICE: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can relieve pain and swelling after the injury first takes place. The patient should ensure they are resting for an adequate amount of time until the foot and ankle heals. 
  • Orthotic support in shoes: Insoles that raise the arch can help with proper foot support. We recommend custom orthotics for ultimate relief. 
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises: Our office or a physical therapist may recommend specific stretches or strengthening exercises for you to complete. For example, here is an excellent video on some common stretches for PTTD. 
  • Footwear: We may recommend our patients wear specific shoes for proper support, such as walking boots. 

Medical Treatment: 

  • Physical therapy: Our office may recommend physical therapy for more advanced cases. 
  • Surgery: For severe circumstances, surgery may be necessary to treat PTTD. If your symptoms do not improve with physical therapy or at-home treatment, contact our office to see your best options. 
Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

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