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Posterior Tibial Tendinitis

Definition

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis is a strain placed on the posterior tibial tendon. The posterior tibial tendon runs along the inside of the ankle and the foot. When there is posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, the tendon does not function to hold up the arch, resulting in what is called flexible flat feet. This can lead to heel pain, arch pain, plantar fasciitis and/or heel spurs. With posterior tibial tendonitis, pain will be more severe upon weight bearing, especially while walking or running while the affected patient will not be able to hold upright on tip toes.

 

Cause

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis occurs when the muscle is overused and the tendon (soft tissue) that connects the muscle to your bone is strained. Years of over-pronation (flat feet) can also lead to posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. If you keep overusing the muscle, damage to the tendon builds up and tendonitis develops. At first the pain or swelling may come and go quickly, but if left undiagnosed the problem will eventually become more permanent.

 

Treatment and Prevention

To treat posterior tibial tendonitis, you can reduce your symptoms by limiting activity to control the pain and swelling. Stay off your feet a few days, and then slowly increase your activity. Rest and topical anti-inflammatory drugs allow the tissues in your foot to heal. Conservative treatments (non-surgical treatments) include wearing supportive footwear and a medically prescribed orthotic device with features to support over-pronation and the medial longitudinal arch, in order to reduce strain on the posterior tibial tendon and prevent excessive stretching of the plantar fascia. The orthotic should also be designed with materials to comfort the foot and absorb shock.

Tips to prevent Posterior Tibial Tendonitis from recurring include: Wear shoes that provide cushioning, support and shock absorption. Use orthotics with sufficient arch support as prescribed by your podiatrist. Vary exercise routines. The variety will keep one set of muscles from being under continuous stress.

 

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