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Posterior Tibial Dysfunction

Having flat feet makes it a lot more painful and difficult to walk. Even worse, the deformity in a foot may get worse over time. However, at Knoxville Footcare, we offer a variety of treatments for people with flat feet, beginning with those that are the least invasive. Although there are different reasons why the arch of the foot may collapse, one of the most common is posterior tibial dysfunction, so we wanted to dedicate this week’s blog post to the importance of this tendon.


The posterior tibial tendon runs down the back of the leg and through the ankle bones, where it splits off to hold up the arch of the foot bones. The tendon may be acutely injured or degrade over time, with the area near the ankle bones being particularly vulnerable. As the tendon frays and becomes inflamed, a patient may start to feel pain when they run. Further degradation of the tendon will cause pain on the inside of the foot, and as the arch collapses, the ankle bones will be pushed further outward. Eventually, the flattened foot will roll inward, putting the patient at increased risk for arthritis and limiting the motion of the foot.


The full collapse of the foot is not inevitable. However, intervention often is required to save it. Women, middle-aged people, and people with hypertension, diabetes, or who are overweight or have a history of foot injuries are particularly vulnerable. Patients should switch to exercise that does not put impacts on their feet (rowing and swimming are good ideas for most people), and we can fit patients for customized orthotics and braces in our Knoxville office. If the posterior tibial tendon is not getting better after several months, it can be surgically cleaned of inflamed tissue, and the patient may be provided with anti-inflammatory injections.


Knoxville Footcare is located at 1932 Alcoa Highway Building C, Suite 480, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37920. Visit us at Knoxville Footcare or call 865-632-5700.

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