At the onset of posterior tibial tendon injury, you may feel pain on the inside arch portion of your foot.  It is close enough to the heel that you may be unsure if it is actually plantar fasciitis. The posterior tibial muscle is in the back of your leg along with your calf muscle. The Achilles tendon extends from the calf muscle into the back of your heel while the tibialis posterior sends its tendon around the inside of your ankle and underneath your foot. Its role is to support the arch and provide strength as your foot moves from heel to toe while walking or running. 

Most often overuse or improper footwear put extra workload on the tendon resulting in a mild inflammatory reaction or tendonitis.  These symptoms will progress without proper treatment. Pain and swelling to the area can lead to an inward rolling motion at the ankle. If the tendon is continuously abused, it can eventually lose the ability to support the arch and causing a notable change in arch height.

When arches drop, the injury has progressed to what is termed posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) or adult acquired flat foot. Problems with this tendon are the most common reason for flat feet to develop in an adult. The altered mechanics that occur when this tendon is damaged can also lead to other foot pain.  A drop in the arch puts more tension on the plantar fascia creating classic plantar fascial heel pain.  Additionally, the alignment of joints becomes altered and can lead to arthritic, painful foot and ankle joints.

The best way to avoid falling arches or late-stage PTTD is to visit your Austin podiatrists.  The doctors at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists will identify the problem behind your heel or arch pain and find the best resolution for you.  By seeking out help and intervening early, treatments can be as simple as better shoe selection, custom inserts, or physical therapy. When the problem has been ignored for too long and permanent changes have occurred to the structure of the foot, the only option may be surgical correction.  Don’t let the problem progress to that point, make an appointment today!!

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