Posterior Tibial Tendon Integrity Can Be Screened With Plain Anteroposterior Foot Radiography

Orthopedics. 2020 Nov 1;43(6):e503-e507. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20200827-04. Epub 2020 Sep 3.


Posterior tibial tendon integrity is an important consideration when treating adult-acquired flatfoot caused by posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. The condition of this tendon traditionally has been evaluated with ultrasonography or magnetic resonance imaging, but recent advances in radiography have increased the resolution of radiographic soft tissue images. The authors examined whether the posterior tibial tendon could be screened with anteroposterior foot radiographs, based on interobserver agreement and accuracy. The authors retrospectively evaluated consecutive patients who underwent weight-bearing foot radiography and ultrasonography based on suspicion of posterior tibial tendinopathy. The integrity of the posterior tibial tendon was evaluated by 2 orthopedic surgeons with foot radiographs and scored as normal or abnormal. The authors evaluated interobserver agreement and compared the findings of ultrasonography and radiography to evaluate diagnostic accuracy. The study included 21 patients with a mean age of 51.5±15.7 years. Ultrasonography showed that 4 patients had normal tendon integrity, 6 patients had tenosynovitis and no tendinopathy, 8 patients had tendinopathy and tendon continuity, and 3 patients had loss of tendon continuity. The surgeons provided consistent radiographic findings for 81.0% of patients (17 of 21). On the basis of the ultrasonographic findings, the surgeons' accuracy was 76.2% (16 of 21) and 61.9% (13 of 21). The results indicate that weight-bearing anteroposterior foot radiography can be used to evaluate posterior tibial tendon integrity, which may allow orthopedic surgeons to predict the prognosis of patients with posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, determine the extent of surgical treatment, and evaluate tendon integrity postoperatively. [Orthopedics. 2020;43(6):e503-e507.].

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Flatfoot / diagnostic imaging
  • Flatfoot / etiology
  • Flatfoot / surgery
  • Flatfoot / therapy*
  • Foot / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction / complications
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tendons / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tendons / surgery
  • Tenosynovitis / complications
  • Tenosynovitis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ultrasonography
  • Weight-Bearing