Posterior tibial tendonitis, also known as posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD), is a condition that affects the posterior tibial tendon, which runs along the inside of the ankle and foot.
This tendon plays a crucial role in supporting the arch of the foot and maintaining proper foot and ankle alignment. When the tendon becomes inflamed or damaged, it can lead to posterior tibial tendonitis.
Here’s a breakdown of the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for this condition.
Overuse or repetitive stress
Engaging in activities that involve repetitive motions or placing excessive strain on the posterior tibial tendon, such as running or jumping, can contribute to tendonitis.
Age and degeneration
As we age, the tendons in our body can gradually weaken and degenerate, making them more prone to injury and inflammation.
Flat feet, high arches, or other foot structure abnormalities can alter the biomechanics of the foot, increasing the risk of tendonitis.
Pain and swelling on the inside of the ankle or foot, particularly along the path of the posterior tibial tendon.
Tenderness and warmth in the affected area.
Difficulty walking, especially on uneven surfaces or when standing on tiptoes.
Gradual flattening of the arch of the foot or a shift in foot alignment.
To diagnose posterior tibial tendonitis, a healthcare professional will typically perform a physical examination and evaluate your medical history. They may assess the range of motion in your foot, look for signs of swelling or tenderness, and evaluate your gait.
Imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans may be ordered to rule out other potential causes and assess the severity of the condition.
Rest and Activity Modification
Avoid activities that exacerbate symptoms and allow the tendon time to heal. Immobilization with a walking boot or brace may be recommended in severe cases.
Ice and Anti-Inflammatory Medications
Applying ice packs and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce pain and swelling.
A physical therapist can guide you through exercises and stretches to strengthen the surrounding muscles, improve flexibility, and support the tendon.
Custom orthotic inserts or supportive footwear can help correct foot alignment and reduce stress on the posterior tibial tendon.
In some cases, a healthcare professional may recommend corticosteroid injections to alleviate pain and inflammation.
Surgery may be considered if conservative treatments do not provide sufficient relief. The procedure aims to repair or reconstruct the damaged tendon and restore proper foot function.
It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan based on the severity of your condition and individual circumstances. Early intervention and proper care can help manage symptoms and prevent further progression of posterior tibial tendonitis.