Posterior Tibial Dysfunction

The posterior tibial muscle and tendon are located on the inside of the lower leg and ankle. The muscle is part of the muscles that make up the "calf" of the leg. The tendon begins in the mid portion of the lower leg and then passes around the ankle bone on the inside of the foot to fasten on to the bone structure of the arch of the foot. This muscle and tendon are critical to the integrity of the foot as they maintain the arch.


The most common problems associated with the tendon involve "tendonitis", tearing of the tendon and "stretching or dysfunction of the tendon". The latter generally occurs following prolonged tendonitis. Because this is the tendon that "holds up the arch", it is subject to a great deal of tension which results in the problems. If your foot has a tendency to be "flat" or roll inward (pronate) then you are more likely to have posterior tibial tendon problems.

If you are suffering from tendonitis, you will have swelling on the inner ankle with tenderness when you press the area. Walking will also be painful. This should be treated immediately as it can lead to more serious problems. Generally anti-inflammatory medication and supportive taping for a few weeks will take care of a tendonitis if caught early.

Posterior tibial "dysfunction" is a condition that occurs over a long period of time. If you notice your arch "falling" and increased discomfort in the arch area of the foot, you should have this treated. Treatment for this can involve anti inflammatory medication and supportive taping to reduce any inflammation along with orthotics.

A torn posterior tibial tendon is generally an acute event. There is usually acute pain with bruising and a good deal of swelling. You will also notice that you no longer can "push off" with that foot when you walk. THIS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM AND MUST BE DEALT WITH AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. You should immediately get off of the foot and ice the area until you can be seen. Treatment for this condition will generally involve surgical repair of the tendon.