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Posterior Tibial Dysfunction

person crossing their ankles

Posterior tibial dysfunction is a painful, progressive flatfoot deformity in adults. The posterior tibial tendon is one of the most important tendons in the lower leg as it helps hold up your arch and provides support. The condition results in overstretching or rupturing of the posterior tibial tendon, leading to tendon inflammation, weakness, foot deformity and arthritis.

Symptoms:

  • Pain on the inner ankle.
  • Pain that is worse with activity such as high-intensity or high-impact activities, such as running, can be very difficult.
  • Difficulty trouble walking or standing for a long time.
  • Inability to stand on toes.
  • Pain in the midfoot.
  • Gradual lose the inner arch on the bottom of your foot resulting in flat feet.
  • Gradual development pain in the outside of the ankle.
  • Typically occurs in one foot.

Common causes are over pronation (rolling in of the ankles) and overuse from activities such as basketball, tennis and soccer. Other contributing factors that are found to increase the risk of posterior tibial dysfunction are diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, ankle fracture and obesity.

At Mint Foot Care Podiatry, we diagnose this condition by taking a comprehensive history, performing a biomechanical assessment and video gait analysis. The podiatrist may prescribe diagnostic imaging such as X-rays and ultrasound.

Based on the findings a combination of treatment options may be prescribed including:

  • Rest and Ice – keeping off the foot and reducing activity prevents further injury and encourages healing. Ice can reduce inflammation, swelling and symptoms.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication – help reduce the pain and inflammation such as ibuprofen or aspirin.
  • Footwear recommendations.
  • Custom made orthotic therapy – orthotics may be prescribed to address any biomechanical factors such as over pronation.
  • Braces.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Ultrasound therapy.

In cases where this condition has progressively worsened and conservative treatment has failed, surgery may be required. It is important to see your podiatrist and to take on treatment immediately to try and prevent surgery from occurring.

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