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A Fallen Arch: Understanding Post Tibial Tendon Disorder

The human foot is a wondrous design that allows us to walk upright with no problems. Feet are truly amazing structures from an anatomical perspective. When the foot doesn't function very well, however, the difference is quickly noted. There might be pain, or difficulty walking in some cases. Take a moment to learn all about post tibial tendon disorder. This common ailment has solutions that include orthotics.

What Is Post Tibial Tendon Disorder?


PTTD is a condition that affects the arch in your foot. A tendon that stretches down from the calf and into the foot is the main support for the arch. If this tendon becomes inflamed or damaged, the arch has no choice but to flatten out.

This disorder is often a chronic problem that causes pain and difficulty with walking. It doesn't miraculously heal on its own; PTTD must be diagnosed and treated in the appropriate manner. The foot remains flat against the floor otherwise.

Exploring the Common Causes

PTTD has two main causes:

  • Severe falls
  • Repetitive actions

This tendon remains protected within the human anatomy, but it can still be damaged from an unexpected fall. Tripping, falling or moving the foot in an unusual position can lead to PTTD. The tendon can be either damaged or inflamed, or it could tear entirely.

You may not realize that PTTD is actually occurring over time with repetitive actions. Damage from sports and exercise can lead to flat feet. Movements that require quick changes in direction, such as those done while playing soccer, can lead to tendon damage.

Recognizing the Symptoms


Recognizing that you might have PTTD requires some observation on your part. Be aware of any pain originating from the foot. These areas are particularly vulnerable

  • Outside of the ankle
  • Inside the foot
  • Back of the foot

The pain will ebb and flow as pressure varies throughout the day. If you enjoy high-impact sports or activities, PTTD shows off its presence with acute pain during these efforts.

Treating the Condition With Orthotics

One of the best ways to treat PTTD is with orthotics. This complex term simply refers to a shoe insert or shoe itself that's designed for arch support. Orthotics shouldn't be confused with everyday shoes that are marketed under an "arch support" category. Real orthotics will slip into your everyday shoes.

They might come as a heel or arch support, whereas some designs involve a full insert into the shoe. Some orthotics are even advertised as useful for PTTD. Working with your doctor to find the right solution is the best course of action.

Where To Find Orthotics

When treating or preventing foot ailments with orthotics, it’s important to ensure that your orthotic is the best fit for your personal shape and arch. One of the best ways to do this is by getting a foot scan done to curate a custom-fit orthotic. Getting an orthotic that doesn’t quite fit your foot shape may cause more harm than good.

Working With Your Doctor



Your general practitioner is a great place to start when you want prescribed orthotics for PTTD. He or she might provide a recommendation to a podiatrist. Your doctor will officially diagnose the condition and offer treatment advice.

Most professionals recommend noninvasive ways to treat PTTD. Orthotics continue to be the smartest choice for most patients. These shoe inserts take the strain off the tendon, which allows it to heal. Every prognosis is different, so you may be wearing orthotics for a long time to come. Tendons have limited blood supply, and this means they heal very slowly.

The Key to Success

Relieving this chronic condition depends on your overall habits. It's critical to wear the orthotics as directed every day. They should support the arch and give the tendon a chance to heal over time.

Skipping the use of the orthotics for even one day can lead to additional inflammation. The tendon will continue to have problems unless you're proactive about your care.

If the orthotics wear down or become uncomfortable at any time, point this out to your doctor. Orthotics are made of many different materials, and you may simply need an updated model.

An Alternative to Surgery

One of the main reasons for wearing orthotics for treatment is avoiding surgery. Procedures are viable options, but they come with significant recovery time and possible complications. There's no perfect surgery for everyone with PTTD. Doctors must evaluate the patient and choose a proper procedure.

For most patients, orthotics provide relief and real solutions within six months of being initially fitted. A small few, however, might encounter further pain, even with properly fitted orthotics.

This percentage of patients may need surgery to alter the tendon's elasticity or position. Surgery may involve fusing bones in severe cases. In the end, turning to orthotics is almost always a better solution than opting for a surgical procedure.

The best way to know if you have a foot condition is by visiting the doctor. He or she can perform several tests to determine the best course of action. With the proper care, you can again walk with confidence and minimal pain.


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