Tendons connect muscles to bones and stretch across joints, enabling you to bend that
joint. One of the most important tendons in the lower leg is the posterior tibial tendon.
This tendon starts in the calf, stretches down behind the inside of he ankle and attaches
to bones in the middle of the foot.
The posterior tibial tendon helps hold your arch up and provides support as you step
off on your toes when walking. If this tendon becomes inflamed, over-stretched or torn,
you may experience pain on the inner ankle and gradually lose the inner arch on the bottom
of your foot, leading to flatfoot.
Symptoms of Foot Tendonitis
- Pain and swelling on the inside of the ankle
- Loss of the arch and the development of a flatfoot
- Gradually developing pin on the outer side of the ankle or foot
- Weakness and an inability to stand on the toes
- Tenderness over the midfoot, especially when under stress during activity
Risk factors of foot Tendonitis
Foot Tendonitisoften occurs in women over 50 years of age and may be due to an inherent
abnormality of the tendon. But there are several other risk factors, including:
- Previous surgery or trauma, such as an ankle fracture on the inner side of the foot
- Local steroid injections
- Inflammatory diseases such as Reiters syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, spondylosing
arthropathy and psoriasis
Athletes who are involved in sports such as basketball, tennis, soccer or hockey may
tear the posterior tibial tendon. The tendon may also become inflamed if excessive force
is placed on the foot, such as when running on a banked track or road.
Diagnosis of foot Tendonitis
The diagnosis is based on both a history and a physical examination. Your physician may
ask you to stand on your bare feet facing away from him/her to view how your foot
functions. As the condition progresses, the front of the affected foot will start to slide
to the outside. From behind, it will look as though you have "too many toes"
showing. You may also be asked to stand on your toes or to do a single heel rise: stand
with your hands on the wall, lift the unaffected foot off the ground, and raise up on the
toes of the other foot. Normally, the heel will rotate inward; the absence of this sign
indicates Foot Tendonitis. Your doctor may request X-rays, an ultrasound or a magnetic
resonance image (MRI) of the foot.
Treatment of foot Tendonitis
Without treatment, the flatfoot that develops from Foot Tendonitiseventually becomes
rigid. Arthritis develops in the hindfoot. Pain increases and spreads to the outer side of
the ankle. The way you walk may be affected and wearing shoes may be difficult.
The treatment your doctor recommends will depend on how far the condition has
progressed. In the early stages, Foot Tendonitis can be treated with rest, nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen, and immobilization of the foot for 6
to 8 weeks with a rigid below-knee cast or boot to prevent overuse. After the cast is
removed, shoe inserts such as a heel wedge or arch support may be helpful. If the
condition is advanced, your doctor may recommend that you use a custom-made ankle-foot
orthosis or support.
If conservative treatments dont work, your doctor may recommend surgery. Several
procedures can be used to treat Foot Tendonitis; often more than one procedure is
performed at the same time. Your doctor will recommend a specific course of treatment
based on your individual case. Surgical options include:
- Tenosynovectomy. In this procedure, the surgeon will clean away (debride) and remove
(excise) any inflamed tissue surrounding the tendon.
- Osteotomy: This procedure changes the alignment of the heel bone (calcaneus). The
surgeon may sometimes have to remove a portion of the bone.
- Tendon transfer: This procedure uses some fibers from another tendon (the flexor
digitorum longus, which helps bend the toes) to repair the damaged posterior tibial
- Lateral column lengthening: In this procedure, the surgeon removes a small wedge-shaped
piece of bone from the hip and places it into the outside of the calcaneus. This helps
realign the bones and recreates the arch.
- Arthrodesis: This procedure welds (fuses) one or more bones together, eliminating
movement in the joint. This stabilizes the hindfoot and prevents the condition from