A common foot and ankle problem, posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is a condition that results when tendons are inflamed or torn. A podiatrist can determine whether you’re likely to respond well to standard treatments for PTTD or if you may have a situation that requires surgery to restore your arch and relieve your pain.
Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction Causes
Attaching calf muscles to the inside bones of your foot, the posterior tibial tendon supports your arch and helps you maintain balance. More common in women and people over 40, PTTD can result after a serious injury, such as a hard fall directly on your foot or ankle, causes the tendon to become inflamed. Contributing causes or factors often include:
Symptoms of Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
The inflamed or torn tendon often causes the arch of the foot to fall or completely collapse. Symptoms associated with PTTD may be mild at first or aggravated by certain foot and ankle movements. Once the arch falls, the heel bone may shift and place pressure on part of the ankle bone. Possible signs of damage to the tendon in this part of the foot include:
Diagnosing Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
While a clear flatfoot deformity is an obvious sign of advanced PTTD, it can be difficult to diagnose the condition in its early stages since foot pain can have many sources. A podiatrist often makes a diagnosis by:
Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction Treatments
Even with treatment, pain from PTTD may last for 4-6 months or more, depending on the extent of the damage to the tendon. Most patients respond well to a combination of treatments, including:
If you’re not experiencing relief with orthotics and braces, a podiatrist may recommend surgery to lengthen the Achilles tendon, remove inflamed tissue, or cut and shift bones. Since procedures to resolve PTTD may be complex in nature, the emphasis is likely to be on a combination of non-surgical remedies.