How Can Orthotics Help Runners With Posterior Tibial Tendonitis?


It goes without saying that running is a great way to stay in shape, but pounding the pavement for mile after mile can take its toll on your joints, tendons and muscles. Runners are vulnerable to developing a variety of foot and ankle disorders.

Posterior tibial tendonitis is a common foot and ankle disorder in both amateur and professional runners and can be painful and debilitating if it is not treated promptly. Fortunately, podiatrists can use orthotic inserts to alleviate the symptoms of posterior tibial tendonitis and promote healing, getting you back on the road as soon as possible.

What Is Posterior Tibial Tendonitis?

The posterior tibial tendon connects the back of your calf muscle to the bones inside the centre of your foot. This important tendon is activated whenever your foot hits the ground when you run or walk. It keeps the arches of your foot raised and prevents your foot from twisting too much when it hits the ground while running or walking.

As you can imagine, frequent running sessions can place a great deal of strain on this tendon. Runners are more likely to develop this condition if they wear running shoes that do not properly support the arches of the feet. Over time, repetitive strain can cause the tendon to become damaged and inflamed, a condition known as posterior tibial tendonitis. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Posterior Tibial Tendonitis?

The most immediate symptoms of posterior tibial tendonitis are pain and visible swelling along the centre line of the damaged foot and ankle. This pain usually gets worse when the foot is used, and can become excruciating if you try to run normally on the damaged foot.

Once the posterior tibial tendon becomes damaged, it can no longer provide structural support to the foot. This allows the foot to flatten out when it hits the ground, and can also cause your ankle to twist inwards when weight is placed on the stricken foot. Posterior tibial tendonitis can lead to fallen arches and a gait disorder known as overpronation, both of which can cause serious pain and permanent damage if the underlying problem goes untreated.

How Can Orthotics Help Treat Posterior Tibial Tendonitis?

If you are suffering from symptoms of posterior tibial tendonitis, you should visit a podiatrist as soon as possible to have your damaged foot professionally examined and diagnosed. Podiatrists can offer a range of treatments to correct the condition. Painkillers and corticosteroids can be administered to alleviate pain and swelling, and compression bandages and night braces can be fitted to immobilise the damaged tendon and allow it to heal.

Podiatrists can also create custom orthotics to help the damaged tendon heal, as well as prevent the problem from reoccurring in the future. Custom orthotics are inserted into your regular running footwear and are shaped to provide support to your foot beneath where the posterior tibial tendon connects to the bones inside the foot.

In this position, orthotic inserts can minimise the amount of strain placed on the damaged tendon, allowing it to heal with minimal scarring and loss of mobility. These orthotics will also subtly alter your running gait over time, helping to correct any gait issues that may have caused the tendon to become damaged in the first place.

For more information on orthotics, contact a professional near you.


24 February 2022

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