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Anatomy of the Posterior Tibialis Tendon
The posterior tibial tendon is an important tendon in the leg.
A tendon (strong cord-like tissue) attaches muscles to bones. The posterior tibial tendon attaches the calf muscle to the bones in the foot.
The posterior tibial tendon extends from the calf down to the inside of the ankle and the bones of the foot.
The posterior tibial tendon is important for walking as it supports the stability and arch of the foot.
What Causes Posterior Tibial Tendonitis?
Tibial tendonitis is often caused by repetitive use of the posterior tibial tendon.
This condition is common in people with obesity as well as those who participate in sports that involve a high impact on the ankle and foot, such as dancing, basketball, soccer, and tennis.
Posterior Tibial Tendonitis Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of posterior tibial tendonitis are:
- Swelling in the ankle
- Weakness in the foot
- Pain on the inside of the foot and ankle bone (medial malleolus)
- Spasms of the peroneal tendons on the outside of the foot
- A gradual flattening of the arch of the foot (a flat foot)
- Pain in the tarsal tunnel (similar to carpal tunnel in the hand)
- Difficulty walking or running
When to See a Doctor
If you have the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to see your doctor.
Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction can get progressively worse if untreated.
As the condition progresses, the arch in the foot begins to flatten, which causes more pain.
A flattened arch may also cause the ligaments inside the ankle to stretch and the joints to become misaligned, leading to ankle arthritis.
How Is Posterior Tibial Tendonitis Diagnosed?
A foot and ankle specialist usually makes the diagnosis of tibial tendonitis.
To diagnose this condition, the specialist will ask about your medical history and your level of physical activity.