When recovering from Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction, exercises are a great tool for rebuilding strength and range of motion. These exercises are recommended by physical therapists, but you should be professionally evaluated prior to starting any new exercise routine. Keep reading for step-by-step guidance and even some video demos.
The muscles of the legs are important for walking, running and jumping. The posterior tibialis muscle allows you to point your toes down and inward when it is contracted. It also helps keep acts as a stabilizing anchor on the medial (inner) side of the ankle joint. One of its main jobs is stabilizing the arch of your foot so it does not collapse under pressure and become flat with weight bearing activities such as walking and standing.
A few basic tools can make the recovery process and your exercise program for PTTD easy and effective. If you don’t have these, don’t fret. You can get creative with what you have around your home as well.
This low cost versatile tool is the one option that you should definitely consider a top priority for your exercise program. It will allow you to add resistance to your foot and ankle movements. Each color of resistance band provides a different level of tension that you can gradually progress with.
There are a variety of options for massaging the lower leg and getting relief from local pain and stiffness. To address knots (trigger points) in the lower leg, consider use of a peanut ball or lacrosse ball. To address larger muscles, like the calves, you can use a foam roller or muscle roller stick.
Once you’ve mastered standing exercises on a solid surface, you will want to try progressing to softer surfaces that further challenge your balance and the stability of your foot and ankle. Options include grass, carpet, or a balance foam pad.
When you’re exercising, you will most likely be going barefoot to strengthen your feet adequately. However, make sure you keep your foot supported the rest of the day to maximize your results and minimize a flatfoot deformity.
You will be sitting on the floor for many of the exercises below so clear a space to stretch out!
Make sure you’re holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds. You should be able to complete your entire exercise program in less than 20 minutes so that you can get on with your day while still feeling your best.
The sooner you start an exercise program for your ankle and foot the better. What exercises you start with will depend on the severity and chronicity of your symptoms.
Typically, you will want to start with some gentle daily stretching exercises to promote pain relief and restore some range of motion for better biomechanics. From there, you can then progress to non-weight bearing muscle strengthening of the ankle, foot, and lower leg.
Finally, it’s always important to progress to dynamic weight-bearing exercises to ensure that you can complete your daily activities without re-injuring your foot and ankle. For frequency, try to do your easier exercises daily. As you work toward your harder exercises you can start reducing your frequency to 3 to 4 times per week.
When it comes to an exercise program for PTTD, pain relief and adequate arch control and support is the first priority. This will require some stretching exercises, paying attention to how your foot (particularly the arch) is aligned with activities, and wearing shoes that provide adequate arch support for your feet.
The posterior tibialis muscle and tendon become inflamed and dysfunctional with PTTD. Directly stretching these tissues will help restore health, reduce pain, and prep the foot and ankle for a full recovery.
Since the posterior tibialis is located in the back (posterior) compartment of the lower leg, it can cause the calf muscles (the gastrocnemius and soleus) to feel tight as well. A deep stretch for this area can provide some relief of tension and discomfort.
The strength of the small intrinsic muscles within the foot can play a role in providing arch support that is lost with PTTD. Exercises that focus on keeping the arch high and strong will help gradually relieve symptoms as the balance is restored.
This is just one great option for building foot and toe strength for arch support. You can also try picking up marbles with your toes or “drawing” imaginary letters with your toes. If these exercises are hard to complete with adequate arch control, you can also simply sit with your foot flat on the ground and practice lifting the arch up toward the ceiling.
This is a great exercise for strengthening the ankle without putting weight through your foot. These are ideal when you are having trouble doing standing exercises because of excessive wobbling and/or pain.
The third exercise directly works the posterior tibialis, so start cautiously and see what you can tolerate. With the help of another person or securing the band below your foot, you can also add a fourth exercise by bringing your toes toward the shin (dorsiflexion).
Once you’re ready to try some standing exercises, a heel raise is a great place to start. This can be a challenging exercise with PTTD so it’s important to start with a small range of motion that is relatively pain free and feels controlled.
Self-massage of the posterior tibialis muscles and tendon can be very helpful in boosting your healing potential and reducing pain. This is because massage and pressure promote blood flow to the injured area to help it recover. For general massage, you could use a foam roller or massage stick on the calf muscles. We will review a specific release technique, known as trigger point release, for the affected muscle below.
To maximize the outcomes of your exercise program, it’s important to keep these tips in mind:
Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction exercises are designed to help strengthen, stretch and prevent injury to the posterior tibial tendon. A home exercise program is one of the best ways to start down the road to recovery. The most important factor is simply getting started. If you have questions or concerns regarding your symptoms, especially if they become severe, remember to consult a trusted healthcare professional, such as an orthopedic doctor or physical therapist, as soon as possible for further medical advice.
References:Shop Foot Pain
Next Pages:PTTD Taping