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Treating Posterior Tibial Tendon Pain

Treating Posterior Tibial Tendon Pain

by Chris Williams
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With peoples new found liking to active lifestyles, walking and running for fitness has become a trend. Some people also walk a lot at work or on their daily commute. Regardless of the reason people are on their feet often now a days. Even with the advances in technology and the availability of cars have becomes more open to more people, there are still some who would commute and walk daily to alleviate themselves of the ever increasing price of gasoline and also take advantage of the health benefits of being physically active. Injuries however are a downside of the active lifestyle and is something that can strike us at any time and cause a huge problem.

Say for example, during one of your jogs or walks home you notice some unusual pain in your feet that weren’t there before. If you notice pain in the food or in the arch of the foot specifically, this is usually accompanied by a stiff ankle and swelling in the tendon area, you may have gotten posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. Other symptoms that you may feel include a popping sound when walking which also comes with a bit of soreness when touched. This condition can get worse from here, in some cases it lingers for a long period of time and often enough to make walking, running, and jogging difficult because of the pain. This sets us back in a lot of ways, physical activities become things we avoid and fear because of the notion that it may be painful.

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is a common foot and ankle ailment. This ailment comes in the form of inflammation or tearing at the posterior tibial tendon. This specific tendon is what attaches the calf muscle to the bones located on the inside of the foot. The posterior tibial provides support when walking and is expected to hold up the foot arch when walking. When the tendons no longer support the feet the ailment worsens and results to flatfoot. In most cases the condition is treated using orthotics or braces and does not require surgery.

Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction at times root from damage to the feet, landing flat on your feet when falling or jumping is one example of how it can be damaged. The condition however is also something that can happen over time and due to overuse, being constantly engaged in physical activites like jogging or running and in sports that require running such as soccer, tennis, or basketball. The constant strain on the feet may bring about inflammation or tearing of the tibial tendon which causes the arch to fall over time. Being overweight, having hypertension, or diabetes may also put you at risk of getting posterior tibial tendon dysfunction.

When dealing with posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, one of the first things to do is to stop ignoring the pain. Don’t run or walk the pain off as it may only make the condition worse. There are ways to rehabilitate your feet. This process is done in phases, as such make sure to check with your physician about your condition so that the progress can be monitored.

Exercises To Help Manage Pain:


The tibial tendon acts as a stabilizer for the feet, similar to steel cables supporting a bridge from falling when pressure or weight is applied to it. As such strengthening exercises are important for making sure that the support it provides is always ample. Stand in front of a wall with one food forward and one back. Make sure to keep both feet flat on the ground and stretch the calf of the rear leg and hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat this three times with the knees straight then again with knees bent before moving to the other leg.


These exercises increase muscle endurance that becomes much more heightened with posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. They should be done with low resistance and always using the proper shoes and orthotics, the up and down motions should be done slowly and carefully. Inversion, eversion and dorsiflexion can be done daily, gradually building up to 200 repeats can be done over time with a weak theraband. Remember that all of the motion should come from the ankle and always be careful not to roll the leg. Putting a towel under your foot can also be done to help create a smoother motion.


Stand on one leg and slowly raise yourself up, then carefully lower yourself in a controlled manner. This 10-20 times on each leg building up to 50 reps a day.


Walk in a straight line with ankles plantar flexed, and with heels high above the floor. Walk for about 8 to 10 yards is a good enough distance to start with and gradually increase the distance up to 100 yards as you progress.

Besides these exercises tradition methods can be used to manage the pain. Icing the affected area is always a good recommendation to control the inflammation and reduce swelling. The cold soothes the pain felt in the nerves in the area. Additionally, the use of compression garments while exercising helps the recovery process as it promotes blood circulation.


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