Role of Tendoscopy in Treating Stage II Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction

Foot Ankle Int. 2018 Apr;39(4):433-442. doi: 10.1177/1071100717746192. Epub 2018 Feb 16.


Background: Stage II tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction (PTTD) resistant to conservative therapies is usually treated with invasive surgery. Posterior tibial tendoscopy is a novel technique being used in the assessment and treatment of posterior tibial pathology. The aims of this study were (1) to clarify the role of posterior tibial tendon tendoscopy in treating stage II PTTD, (2) to arthroscopically classify spring ligament lesions, and (3) to compare the arthroscopic assessment of spring ligament lesions with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasonographic (US) data.

Methods: We reviewed prospectively collected data on 16 patients affected by stage II PTTD and treated by tendoscopy. We report the reoperation rate and functional outcomes evaluated by comparing pre- and postoperative visual analogic scale for pain (VAS-pain) and the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36; with its physical [PCS] and mental [MCS] components). Postoperative satisfaction was assessed using a VAS-satisfaction scale. One patient was lost to follow-up. Spring ligament lesions were arthroscopically classified in 3 stages. Discrepancies between preoperative imaging and intraoperative findings were evaluated.

Results: At a mean of 25.6 months' follow-up, VAS-pain ( P < .001), SF-36 PCS ( P = .039), and SF-36 MCS ( P < .001) significantly improved. The mean VAS-satisfaction score was 75.3/100. Patients were relieved from symptoms in 80% of cases, while 3 patients required further surgery. MRI and US were in agreement with intraoperative data in 92% and 67%, respectively, for the tendon assessment and in 78% and 42%, respectively, for the spring ligament.

Conclusions: Tendoscopy may be considered a valid therapeutic tool in the treatment of stage II PTTD resistant to conservative treatment. It provided objective and subjective encouraging results that could allow continued conservative therapy while avoiding more invasive surgery in most cases. MRI and US were proven more useful in detecting PT lesions than spring ligament tears. Further studies on PT could use this tendoscopic classification to standardize its description.

Level of evidence: Level IV, therapeutic study, case series.

Keywords: acquired adult flatfoot; spring ligament; tendoscopy; tibial endoscopy; tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroscopy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Ligaments, Articular / surgery*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Pain Measurement
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction / surgery*
  • Tendinopathy / diagnosis
  • Tendinopathy / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome