Biomechanical and clinical factors related to stage I posterior tibial tendon dysfunction

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2011 Oct;41(10):776-84. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2011.3545. Epub 2011 Jul 12.


Study design: Case control.

Objectives: To investigate differences in arch height, ankle muscle strength, and biomechanical factors in individuals with stage I posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) in comparison to healthy individuals.

Background: PTTD is a progressive condition, so early recognition and treatment are essential to help delay or reverse the progression. However, no previous studies have investigated stage I PTTD, and no single study has measured static anatomical structure, muscle strength, and gait mechanics in this population.

Methods: Twelve individuals with stage I PTTD and 12 healthy, age- and gender-matched control subjects, who were engaged in running-related activities, participated in this study. Measurements of arch height index, maximum voluntary ankle invertor muscle strength, and 3-dimensional rearfoot and medial longitudinal arch kinematics during walking were obtained.

Results: The runners with PTTD demonstrated significantly lower seated arch height index (P = .02) and greater (P = .03) and prolonged (P = .05) peak rearfoot eversion angle during gait, compared to the healthy runners. No differences were found in standing arch height index values (P = .28), arch rigidity index (P = .06), ankle invertor strength (P = .49), or peak medial longitudinal arch values (P = .49) between groups.

Conclusion: The increased foot pronation is hypothesized to place greater strain on the posterior tibialis muscle, which may partially explain the progressive nature of this condition.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Canada
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Flatfoot / physiopathology
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction / physiopathology*
  • Pronation / physiology
  • Tendinopathy
  • United States
  • Young Adult