If you suffer from posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD), your posterior tibial tendon, which connects the calf muscles to the foot and helps support the arch of your foot, is inflamed, weak, or torn. This can cause pain in your foot, ankle, and calf muscles. Over time, this condition can lead to flat feet if left untreated. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a podiatrist as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Dealing with posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

Understanding PTTD

PTTD occurs when there is an imbalance of forces in the foot, causing too much strain on the tendon. Over time, this can damage and weaken the tendon, which can eventually cause the foot’s arch to collapse.

Common Causes of PTTD

  • Prolonged standing or walking on hard surfaces for long periods of time
  • Wearing high heels or shoes with poor support
  • Repetitive activities that involve running or jumping on hard surfaces
  • Obesity issues
  • Injuries or fractures to the foot or ankle area
  • Age-related deterioration of tendons and muscles in the feet and ankles

Some individuals may have a greater risk of developing PTTD than others due to certain conditions such as diabetes, arthritis in the feet and ankles, or other connective tissue diseases. People over 40 years old may also be at a higher risk due to age-related changes in their feet and ankles.

Symptoms of PTTD

  • Pain along the inside of your ankle or lower leg near your arch
  • Swelling on the inside of your foot
  • Difficulty walking on uneven surfaces
  • Rolling inward of the ankle
  • Difficulty walking up and down stairs
  • Difficulty standing on tiptoe
  • Limping that is worse
  • Flattening of your arch when standing

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention right away, so you can get an accurate diagnosis and start treatment immediately.

Diagnosing PTTD

To diagnose PTTD, a podiatrist will perform a physical exam and review your medical history. During this exam, they will look for signs of swelling along the posterior tibial tendon and check the range of motion of your ankle. They may also look at your foot from behind for any abnormalities, such as changes in the shape of your foot. Imaging tests such as an X-ray, MRI, a CT scan, or other diagnostic procedures may be ordered to help determine the cause of your symptoms.

Treatment Options

Several treatments are available for PTTD. The most common treatment is rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). Depending on your individualized treatment plan, your podiatrist will work with you to reduce pain and improve mobility, so you can resume your normal activities. Treating the condition in its earliest stages can help many patients avoid surgery. 

Other treatments that a podiatrist may recommend for PTTD include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce inflammation and pain
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the problem area
  • Custom orthotics to provide extra support for the problem area
  • Brace to support the foot joints and take pressure off the posterior tibial tendon
  • Leg cast or boot to immobilize the foot to allow the tendon to heal

If conservative treatments are ineffective in improving the symptoms of PTTD, surgery may be an option to consider.

Prevention Tips

The best way to prevent PTTD is by wearing properly fitting shoes with good arch support and cushioning. You can also do the following:

  • Avoid walking or standing on hard surfaces for extended periods; instead, take frequent breaks and change your position often if possible.
  • Strengthen your feet with exercises such as toe curls and calf raises. These exercises help strengthen muscles around your ankle, which helps stabilize your foot.
  • Start a healthy diet plan and exercise routine, especially if you’re overweight. Excess weight puts extra strain on your feet, so reducing it can help reduce pain associated with PTTD over time.
  • Pay attention to any sudden pain in your feet/ankles, and contact a podiatrist at the first sign of a problem.

Contact Our DFW Podiatrist Today

If you have signs of PTTD, contact Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists for a consultation today. We can discuss treatment options based on your specific needs. To request an appointment, contact our Grapevine or Keller office by filling out our convenient contact form or by calling our office at 817-481-4000.