Posterior Tibial Tendinopathy
(Posterior Tibial Tendonitis; Posterior Tibial Tendinosis)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon. It can cause pain, swelling, and limit movement. The injuries can include:
The posterior tibial tendon runs from the posterior tibial muscle to the inside of the ankle and the arch of the foot. The main job of this tendon is to support the arch of the foot. If the tendon is injured or weak, then the arch of the foot can collapse. This will make the foot pronate, or roll inward. These injuries can make it painful to walk.
Treatment depends on the severity of the tendinopathy.
Causes of posterior tibial tendinopathy include:
Risk Factors TOP
Posterior tibial tendinopathy is more common in women and in people over the age of 40 years. Other factors that increase your chance of posterior tibial tendinopathy include:
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. It will include a foot exam. You may be asked to try to stand on the ball of your foot. If you cannot do this, then you likely have a problem with your posterior tibial tendon.
Images of your foot and ankle may be taken. This can be done with:
Talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
The foot and ankle will need time to heal. RICE is often the main part of treatment:
To help support the foot and promote healing, you may need:
Prescription or over-the-counter medication may be advised to reduce pain.
A physical therapist will assess your foot and ankle. An exercise program will be created to help recovery and to strengthen the muscles.
In rare cases, surgery may be required to repair the tendon.
To reduce your chances of posterior tibialis tendinopathy, take these steps:
The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Gluck GS, et al. Tendon disorders of the foot and ankle, part 3: the posterior tibial tendon. Am J Sports Med. 2010;38(10):2133-2144.
Houck J, Neville C, Tome J, Flemister A. Randomized controlled trial comparing orthosis augmented by either stretching or stretching and strengthening for stage II tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction. Foot Ankle Int. 2015;36(9):1006-16.
Mazieres B, et al. Topical ketoprofen patch in the treatment of tendinitis: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study. J Rheumatol. 2005;32(8):1563-1570.
Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at:
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Updated December 2011. Accessed March 11. 2016.
Posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated September 2017. Accessed March 27, 2018.
Tibialis posterior tendinosis and tibialis posterior tenosynovitis. Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals website. Available at:
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Updated September 2016. Accessed March 27, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT
Last Updated: 4/29/2014
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