Your posterior tibial tendon starts deep in your calf, runs down the back of your leg and along the side of your ankle and ends in the arch of your foot. Its role is to help you bend your foot and ankle, but like any other tendon, it can become inflamed or irritated due to sports, which leads to tendonitis. Here are three things you need to know about posterior tibial tendonitis.
What are the signs of posterior tibial tendonitis?
If you have posterior tibial tendonitis, you'll feel pain in the area of the tendon, along the side of your ankle and into the bottom of your foot. This area may also be swollen and tender. The pain will be worse when you work out, and it will get better when you're resting. In cases of severe tendonitis, you may have trouble walking or even standing. If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to see a podiatrist right away.
What causes it?
Most of the time, tendonitis is an overuse injury. It occurs when you perform the same movements over and over again, like regularly running long distances or spending hours practicing choreography or gymnastics routines.
Tendonitis can also occur as a result of a sudden injury. If you fall while running or jump and then land awkwardly, you can tear the posterior tibial tendon.
How is it treated?
If you have posterior tibial tendonitis, you'll need to rest your foot and ankle to avoid making the problem worse. Even low-impact activities like walking or standing can aggravate your already-injured tendon, so your podiatrist may advise using crutches to keep your weight off the affected ankle. You may also need to wear a walking boot or cast to immobilize your ankle while it heals.
It's important that you don't resume sports until your podiatrist clears you for activity. Trying to push through the pain will make your injury worse and may permanently end your athletic career. Missing training sessions is frustrating, but it's essential if you want to heal properly.
Resting isn't always enough to heal your tendon. Sometimes, surgery is required. Multiple surgical procedures are available, ranging from simple procedures like removing the inflamed parts of the tendon to more complicated procedures that involve completely reconstructing the tendon. Your podiatrist will let you know what type of surgery you'll need after examining your ankle.
If your ankle and foot are sore after doing a lot of sports, or after a fall, see a podiatrist right away.