Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction is a common condition affecting many adults over 40 years of age, regardless of their level of activity. However, it also affects many athletes involved in high-impact sports. Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction surgery is often used to provide patients with relief from pain, but most of the methods used to treat it require open surgery, placing patients at risk for complications. Minimally invasive options can provide patients with relief from their pain with a significantly lower risk of complications and a much quicker and less painful recovery.
What is Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction?
Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction is a common cause of flatfoot in adults and is one of the most common conditions affecting the foot and ankle. It’s caused by inflammation or tearing of the posterior tibial tendon, which is the tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the bones in the foot and holds up the arch. Over time, this inflammation or tearing can compromise the posterior tibial tendon’s ability to support the arch of the foot. This may eventually cause the arch to fall, leading to flatfoot.
Tearing or inflammation of this tendon can be caused by an injury such as a fall, but it can also tear because of overuse. High-impact sports like basketball, tennis, or soccer are common causes of posterior tibial tendon injury due to overuse. Other possible causes include obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.
Open surgery is commonly used to treat this condition and many patients have reported experiencing limitations in their mobility and activity after surgery.
There are a few symptoms to look out for to determine whether or not you may be dealing with posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. You may experience pain along the inside of your foot and ankle, where the tendon is located. There may also be swelling in this area. High-intensity or high-impact activities may worsen the pain, limiting your ability to be active. Some patients also report having trouble walking or standing for long periods of time. You may also experience pain on the outside of your ankle. In addition to this, if the condition reaches the point where the arch collapses, your heel bone may shift outward, putting pressure on the outer ankle bone and causing pain in this area.
Open Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction Surgery
Conservative methods are recommended before posterior tibial tendon dysfunction surgery, but if these methods fail to provide relief, open surgery may be used to treat the tendon. Surgery is typically only considered if conservative methods fail to provide relief after six months.
There are many different surgical methods used to treat this condition, like gastrocnemius recession (lengthening of the Achilles tendon), tenosynovectomy (cleaning the tendon), tendon transfer, osteotomy (cutting and shifting bones), or joint fusion. The method chosen to treat your condition will depend on where the issue is located and how much of the tendon is damaged. Unfortunately, these treatments can be very complex, and open surgery presents many risks for patients. In fact, additional procedures are sometimes required to fully treat this condition, making patients vulnerable to more risks and longer recovery times.
Common risks of open surgery for this condition include excess bleeding, nerve damage, blood clots, infection, weakness of the calf muscles, complications from anesthesia, and continued pain in the foot and ankle. The likelihood of a patient experiencing complications from open surgery depends on the patient’s age, anatomy of the foot, general health, and the surgical method used. However, open surgery is much more likely to have risks and a longer, more painful recovery period than minimally invasive options.
Minimally Invasive Options
Minimally invasive surgery is an option that uses techniques to operate on patients with less damage to their body than open surgery. Patients prefer minimally invasive options because they have less pain, fewer complications, and a shorter recovery overall.
Open surgery requires large incisions versus minimally invasive surgery, where incisions can be as small as a few millimeters. These very small incisions are just one reason why minimally invasive options have fewer risks of complications and quicker recovery times than open surgery.
At the Center for Sports Medicine and Wellness, we offer minimally invasive options like Tenex to treat posterior tibial tendon dysfunction.
Using minimally invasive technology, Tenex Tenotomy eliminates tendon pain by targeting and removing damaged tissue. It eliminates the need for open surgery and allows patients to get relief with a much faster recovery time. This procedure was developed in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic. Studies show that when Tenex is used to treat tendinitis, patients exhibit an increase in overall functionality and a significant decrease in pain. Tenex treats damaged tendons using its patented technology to remove the source of a patient’s pain and stimulate a renewed healing response.
During the procedure, ultrasound imaging is used to view and identify the location of your damaged tendon. After this, the area is numbed with a local anesthetic, and Tenex’s ultrasonic tool is gently applied to break down and removed damaged tissue.
This procedure only requires a 3mm incision and the ultrasonic energy used is very precise, treating only the damaged tendon tissue so all healthy tissue is unharmed. In addition to this, Tenex does not require stitches. Following the procedure, a small bandage is applied to the incision and patients are able to return home immediately after. Some patients have even recovered in as little as 3-6 weeks.
Minimally Invasive Options for Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction in Glen Mills, PA
Our team at the Center for Sports Medicine and Wellness is proud to be experts in the most advanced minimally invasive treatments for our patients. This is why we’ve chosen to add Tenex Tenotomy to our treatment options for patients suffering from tendon pain and injuries.
If you’d like to learn more about our services or contact us to schedule a consultation, please call our office in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, at (610) 459-4200 or fill out our form. We welcome your inquiry and we look forward to helping you get back to the game of life!