Foot/Ankle Pain? It Could Be Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction

Nov 15, 2021

With the mixed weather we’re having, it’s important to get out and make the most of it while you can.

Whether that’s walking or running, one of the biggest impacts to your health you can make is getting outside, breathing in fresh air and soaking up some vitamin D.

Unfortunately, pain can get in the way of our outdoor activities and particularly foot pain. Pain occurs in several areas of the foot but today I want to discuss a certain nasty problem called Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD).

This shows its unpleasant face in sharp pain in the arch of the foot, stiff ankle joint and sore to the touch from the inner arch up to a few inches above the inside ankle.

The posterior tibialis is responsible for stabilising the foot during movement and any damage to the tendon, normally from overuse, can cause pain in the foot. Pain in this region can defeat even the most stubborn runner.

The lack of support in the foot can lead to a collapsed arch so keep an eye on symmetry in both feet. Is one flatter than the other?

One of the best diagnostic tests available is to perform a single leg, standing heel raise, also known as a calf raise.  This checks if the body can hold the foot/ankle integrity in place as it moves or simulates walking.

Its cause is generally unknown but vulnerable demographics include runners, overweight people and middle-aged women.

Firstly, if you suspect PTTD, stop aggravating factors I.e running, walking up hills. If you need to exercise then try cross-training, swimming or cycling as this should not aggravate the foot.

Wearing supportive footwear that has a high drop and is not bendy around the mid-foot will prevent further aggravation.

Using a custom orthotic prescribed by a podiatrist or over the counter should provide instant relief from  high intensity pain.

Stretch your calfs! 3X30s stretches to the calf with a bent knee and then a straight knee while leaning against a wall 2x a day should provide adequate flexibility to the muscle to reduce tensile load on the PTT while walking.

Performing strength exercises will encourage improved force absorption and production qualities of the tendon.

If you are having any issues with your feet give us a call and we will be happy to help you to get back to your normal active lifestyle 🙂