Did you know that your posterior tibial tendon is one of the most important tendons in your leg?
Although most of us don’t ever think about this tendon, it supports us in our every step. The posterior tibial tendon connects one of the deep muscles in the calf to the bones on the inside of the foot. This tendon’s main job is to hold up the arch and support the foot when walking.
Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) is one of the most common problems of the foot and ankle. This condition occurs when the posterior tibial tendon becomes inflamed or torn. As a result, the tendon may not be able to provide stability and support for the arch of the foot.
PTTD can occur from an acute injury or overuse, tearing the posterior tibial tendon or causing it to become inflamed. Once torn or inflamed, the arch of the foot will slowly fall over time.
Because it is the most common reason for flatfoot developed in adults, PTTD may also be called “adult acquired flatfoot”. Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is more common in women and in people older than 40 years of age. Additional risk factors include obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
Non-surgical and surgical treatments are used to treat PTTD depending on the severity of the disease. It may take 3-6 months for symptoms and pain to be alleviated after treatment starts, so it’s important to seek treatment early.
Non-surgical treatments for PTTD include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine
- Physical Therapy
If non-surgical treatment does not relieve the pain associated with PTTD after 6 months, then surgery may be necessary. When surgery is indicated, surgical procedures commonly include:
- Lengthening the Achilles tendon (Gastrocnemius Recession)
- Cleaning the Tendon (Tenosynovectomy)
- Tendon Transfer
- Bone fusion
Although most of us don’t ever think about our posterior tibial tendon, it is one of the most important tendons of the leg and supports us in our every step. PTTD is a common problem of the foot and ankle and should be diagnosed and treated early.
If you are experiencing foot or ankle pain, Dr. Dean can help you get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Call today to set up an appointment.
Dr. Daniel Dean is a fellowship trained foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon. He treats all musculoskeletal pathologies of the foot and ankle in adolescent and adult patients. He has specialized training in total ankle arthroplasty, sports injuries, flatfoot, complex fractures, and minimally invasive techniques in bunion correction.