Posterior tibial tendonitis is inflammation in the tendon on the inside arch of the foot. The inflammation can be caused by irritation and tiny tears in the posterior tibial tendon over time (referred to as chronic tendonitis) or due to animmediate traumatic strain or tear (referred to as acute tendonitis).

The posterior tibial tendon runs along the inside of the ankle and attaches the tibialis posterior muscle (located at the back of the lower leg) to the foot bones in 3 different locations. The tendon assists in supporting the arch of the foot andhelps to prevent your foot from rolling.

If posterior tibial tendonitis goes untreated you may experience flattened arches and your toes will begin to point outward as the tendon is no longer able to support your arch.


Posterior Tibial Tendinitis Symptoms

Symptoms of an inflamed posterior tibial tendon may include:

  • An unsteady gait (instability in the foot).
  • Shooting, stabbing or burning pain along the in-step of the foot and up the inside of the ankle.
  • Intense pain in the arch of the foot when standing on tip toes.
Hikers may experience posterior tibial tendon injuries if they roll over on their ankle. This can stretch the tendon causing tears and can lead to tendinitis if left untreated.

Who is at Risk?

  • People who have diabetes, areoverweight, or are hypertensive.
  • People who play sports or do activities that involve repetitive ankle movements.
  • People who participate in activities such as running on uneven surfaces, racket sports, basketball, hiking, volleyball or other sports where rolling the ankle is common.
  • Elderly people due to tendons losing elasticity with age and becoming brittle.
  • People with flat feet.


Ankle Tendon Treatments

Allowing your ankle to rest is always recommended when you are suffering from tendinitis, tendon tear or bone dislocation. Avoid all activities that may have caused the injury or irritation and begin cold compression treatments as soon as possible. The peroneal and posterior tibial tendons are difficult to rest completely as they are essential tendons for walking and daily activities. During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your ankle until the pain and inflammation settle.

The trick with healing an ankle tendon injury is getting it to heal with minimal scar tissueformation. Even with optimum healing, there is always less elasticity in previously injured peroneal tendons. This will cause the tendons to hurt during daily activities and exercise. However, if you heal your ankle tendons efficiently and quickly, your chance of re-injury later on is much lower than average.