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Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) is a condition that affects the posterior tibial tendon (the band of tissue that connects the calf with the mid-foot bones and supports the foot while walking). When this tendon becomes inflamed, torn, or over-stretched you may develop PTTD. While PTTD typically causes pain and other symptoms, the condition is treatable. With the help of an experienced podiatrist, you can have your foot functionality restored.

Causes of posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

PTTD occurs when the tendon becomes inflamed (tendonitis), which can occur for a number of reasons (e.g. tendon injury and inherent abnormalities in the tendon itself). Further PTTD risk factors include: 

  • Age – tendons lose elasticity as you age. 
  • Certain inflammatory diseases including Reiter's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.
  • Diabetes. 
  • Foot trauma or injury. 
  • Hypertension. 
  • Obesity. 
  • Wearing ill-fitting dress shoes, especially high heels.

Athletes are also more prone to developing PTTD given their heightened risk of suffering foot injuries.

Symptoms of posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

Symptoms of PTTD include: 

  • A bulge in the outer side of the foot or ankle. 
  • Difficulty standing on the toes. 
  • Loss of the arch of the foot. 
  • Pain in foot and/or ankle. 
  • Pain in the arch of the foot.

Treatment of posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

Treatment for PTTD depends on how far the condition has progressed and on the severity of your symptoms.

Non-surgical Treatment

In PTTD's early stages, treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and/or immobilization of the foot (with crutches or orthotic supports) can help the tendon heal.

Surgical Treatment

As the condition progresses, more invasive treatment might be necessary. Tendon surgery allows a doctor to remove inflamed tendon tissue, repair damaged bone and tendon tissue, and realign the bones as necessary.

Contact a skilled podiatrist if you are experiencing the symptoms of PTTD or would like more information on the condition. Your doctor can give you complete information on treatment options.

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