Understanding Posterior Tibialis Tendon Surgery

Posterior tibialis tendon surgery is a way to fix the tendon on the back of your calf that goes down the inside part of your ankle into the foot. The tendon can be torn or inflamed from injury or other causes. This can cause pain and other problems. Surgery can help relieve these problems.

What is the posterior tibialis tendon?

The posterior tibialis tendon is a strong cord of tissue. It is one of the most important tendons in your leg. It attaches the posterior tibialis muscle on the back of your calf to the bones on the inside of your foot. It helps support your foot and hold up its arch when you are walking.

An injury might tear this tendon or cause it to become inflamed. Your tendon might also tear or become inflamed from overuse. Surgery can be done to fix this damage.

Why is posterior tibialis tendon surgery done?

A tear in the posterior tibialis tendon can happen during a fall. It can also happen if you break or dislocate your ankle. Surgery may also be done for chronic inflammation from overuse. Or you may have problems with the tendon if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, or are obese.

If your tendon becomes inflamed or torn, the arch of your foot may start to slowly fall. This can cause pain and swelling in your foot and ankle.

Your doctor may try other treatments first. These can include:

  • Resting your foot

  • Using ice

  • Using pain medicines

  • Wearing a brace or orthotic

  • Using steroid injections

  • Getting physical therapy

If you still have symptoms after several months, your doctor may advise surgery. You may need surgery right away if you hurt your posterior tibialis tendon very badly or if the injury happened suddenly.

Depending on your problem, one or more types of surgery might work for you. Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of all your options.

How is posterior tibialis tendon surgery done?

The surgery is done by an orthopedic surgeon. It can be done in several ways. The surgeon will make an incision through the skin and muscle of your lower calf. If you are having minimally invasive surgery, your doctor will make a small incision. He or she will then use small tools and a tiny camera to do the surgery. The surgeon will then make an incision through the sheath that surrounds the tendon. He or she will then remove or repair parts of your damaged tendon. Your surgeon may remove another tendon from your foot. This is then used to replace part or all of your posterior tibialis tendon.

What are the risks of posterior tibialis tendon surgery?

Every surgery has risks. Risks for this surgery include:

  • Excess bleeding

  • Nerve damage

  • Infection

  • Blood clot

  • Weakness of your calf muscles

  • Complications from anesthesia

  • Continued pain or stiffness in your foot and ankle

Your risks may vary by your age, the anatomy of your foot and ankle, your overall health, and the type of surgery done. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you might have. You can discuss the risks that most apply to you.