Your posterior tibial tendon provides immense support to your foot arch when you’re walking or running, but like any tendon, if it is overloaded with stress, tendonitis can set in. Posterior tibial tendonitis can typically be managed from the comfort of your home, but if you ignore the issue, the problem can worsen until you’ll need professional intervention, so don’t ignore the warning signs of tendonitis. In today’s blog, we share some simple tips for managing and effectively treating posterior tibial tendonitis at home.
Posterior Tibial Tendon Anatomy And Function
Your posterior tibial tendon connects the posterior tibial muscle to the bones in the back of your foot. The tendon traverses down the back of your leg near the Achilles tendon before turning under the inner side of your ankle where it attaches to the bone on the inner side of the foot near the arch. Your posterior tibial tendon runs just beneath your medial malleolus, which is that prominent bony bump on the inside of your ankle, and this is oftentimes the location where the tendonitis is most noticeable. The biggest reason why this area is prone to tendonitis is because blood supply to this area isn’t the best, meaning if the area is traumatized through acute or chronic stress, the body can’t always deliver the necessary nutrients for adequate healing.
Posterior tibial tendonitis oftentimes occurs in conjunction with an injury to the area like a mild or moderate ankle sprain, but it can also develop simply due to overstress on the tendon. If you greatly increase the amount of stress on the tendon in a short amount of time, tendonitis can set in. Some of the most common symptoms associated with posterior tibial tendonitis is pain on the inside of the foot and ankle, tenderness, balance and stability issues and a feeling of unsteadiness when walking.
Powering through the condition isn’t recommended, because the tendonitis can worsen and cause major issues for your entire foot complex. Your foot arch can flatten and your toes will begin to point outward, changing your entire walking pattern. Instead, care for this tendon so that it can keep providing the necessary support to your foot arch.
Home Care Tips For Posterior Tibial Tendonitis
If you are experiencing pain and tenderness along the inside of your foot and heel area, you may be dealing with the early stages of posterior tibial tendonitis. You can certainly connect with your primary care physician or a foot specialist like Dr. McDonald, but you can also try to manage this early stage on your own from the comfort of your home. Here’s some tips for treating early stage posterior tibial tendonitis:
- Rest – Short-term rest can help to protect the tendon from additional stress. You won’t just want to lay in bed for weeks, but you will want to go easy on the area for a couple of days and then gradually reintroduce physical activity to the area. If you manage the load you put on your feet, you can put healthy stress on the area that spurs healing, but too much stress can overload the tendon and lead to more inflammation, so short-term rest and slow reintroduction to activity is best.
- Shoe Inserts – Shoe inserts or custom orthotics can help change how stress is dispersed on your feet, helping to offer more protection to the posterior tibial tendon at a time when it is weaker than normal.
- Physical Therapy – Physical therapy exercises can help to strengthen the tendon and the soft tissues in the area so that the tendon can better handle stress and the supporting tissues can handle a larger load, taking strain off the posterior tibial tendon. You can look for exercises online or have some recommended to you by a physician.
- Anti-Inflammatories – Anti-inflammatory medications can resolve some of the localized inflammation and speed up the healing process, but they are passive by nature and shouldn’t be your only form of treatment.
If you’re still not experiencing pain relief after pursuing these techniques for a couple weeks, connect with a foot specialist like Dr. McDonald. He can take a closer look at your issue and develop a specific care routine for your needs. In the event that more hands-on care is required, he can provide that as well.
For more information about posterior tibial tendonitis or treating other foot and ankle conditions, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.