Tibial Anterior Pain


Tibial Anterior Pain
Anterior tibialis tendonitis is an injury of the anterior tibialis tendon in the front of the ankle where it meets the foot. The tendon is important in pulling the foot up (dorsiflexion), lifting the foot off the ground while running, and in turning the foot inward (inversion).

What causes anterior tibial pain?

Why would my anterior tibialis hurt? – There might be many reasons why your tibialis anterior is hurting. Some of the causes may be:

  • Overuse of your anterior tibialis muscle
  • Repeated stress to the shin bone
  • Tear of the anterior tibialis muscle
  • Frequent pressure from jumping or running
  • Traumatic ankle injury
  • Your walking style

How do you fix tibial tendonitis?

Tendon Transfer – Tendon transfers can be done in flexible flatfoot to re-create the function of the damaged posterior tibial tendon. In this procedure:

The diseased tendon is removed and replaced with another tendon from the foot; or If the disease is not too significant in the posterior tibial tendon, the transferred tendon is attached to the preserved (not removed) PTT

The most commonly used tendon for this transfer procedure is the tendon that bends the little toes down, called the flexor digitorum longus (FDL). The tendon that bends the big toe down (flexor hallucis longus, or FHL) can also be used. After the transfer, the toes will still be able to move, and most patients will not notice a change in how they walk.

How long does it take for tibialis anterior to heal?

Prognosis – If repair and treatment are initiated immediately, individuals with anterior tibialis tendon rupture or tear generally do well. Delay can result in the formation of scar tissue and retraction of the tendons. Other factors that can affect recovery are:

Age: Older individuals are generally weaker and take longer to heal affecting the functional outcome. Strength: Individuals who are strong and in good condition prior to the injury generally do better following surgical repair. Tissue: Tissue quality prior to the surgical repair will affect healing and recovery following surgery. Poor circulation and presence of scar tissue will interfere with the healing process.

The healing time for anterior tibialis tendon repair will take up to 8-12 weeks but restoration of function and ability to accept full activity, load and stress can take up to one year.

How do you test for anterior tibialis pain?

Assessment tests – Specific tests to help diagnose tibialis anterior tendon injuries include resisted dorsiflexion. This is where the therapist will resist the patient attempting to lift the foot up (dorsiflexion). Resisted dorsiflexion Or resisted eccentric inversion, where the therapist moves the foot from inversion to eversion whilst the patient resists. Pain at the front of the ankle on either of these tests may indicate tibialis anterior tendon pain. An ultrasound scan or MRI scan may be used to confirm the diagnosis and rule out a strain or tear of the tendon.

Does tibial tendonitis ever go away?

The good news is that most people can recover from posterior tibial tendonitis without surgery. But the bad news is that every step you take can exacerbate the condition and impede healing. Custom Orthotics can relieve pressure on your tibial tendon.

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Can I run with tibial tendonitis?

Reducing The Stress On Your Posterior Tibial Tendon – If you were trying to run through this injury, stop ! It’s not worth risking permanent damage to your arch. The posterior tibial tendon is slow to heal; probably because the portion of the tendon which runs along the medial malleolus has poor blood supply.4 Therefore, you should take plenty of time off and try to cut back on other activities that aggravate your tendon.

What does tibial tendonitis feel like?

Posterior Tibial Tendonitis Symptoms – Typical symptoms of posterior tibial tendonitis include:

Pain & Swelling: Pain and inflammation from posterior tibial tendon injuries commonly causes foot arch pain that tends to be felt around and behind the inner ankle region and down the side of the foot into the in-step. If the nearby nerve is affected you may also get a burning, stabbing or shooting nerve pain and tingling into the foot. Unable To Stand On Tiptoes: The most classic sign of posterior tibial tendonitis is difficulty standing up on your tiptoes. It may be painful as you push-up onto your tiptoes (known as a heel raise) or you may be completely unable to rise-up at all. Reduced Mobility: People suffering from posterior tibial tendon dysfunction are often limited in how far they can walk. There is typically an achy pain on the inner side of the foot and ankle as soon as you start walking which gets progressively worse the longer you are on your feet, making long distances impossible. Standing for long periods is often increasingly painful and running may be impossible.

Flat Foot Deformity: A gradual loss in height of the medial foot arch is common with tibialis posterior tendinopathy. As the tendon weakens it is unable to support the foot and the foot flattens completely which alters the position of the foot bones. Stiffness: Ankle movement is often limited, particularly lifting the foot upwards (dorsiflexion). This is usually due to tightness in the calf muscles.

What does tibialis anterior pain feel like?

What will I feel and see? – When the anterior tibialis muscle is overworked, you may experience pain or tightness at the front of the lower leg. This can be while walking or while applying pressure to the affected area. While walking, the pain would be more severe while lowering your foot to the ground, immediately after heel strike.

Does walking work your tibialis?

Muscles – Listed below are major muscles involved. There are more muscles that we could discuss however the key message is walking is an excellent exercise to work most of your body Quadriceps These muscles include the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius, All four muscles work together to extend the knee while walking. The rectus femoris also acts to flex the hip, which is the movement necessary to lift your foot off the ground and prevent tripping and falls, Hamstrings, Gluteals and Adductors

  • The hamstring muscle group ( biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus ) work together to bend the knee of the leading leg while walking.
  • The gluteus maximus works with the hamstrings to extend the hip of the rear leg during a stride. Both of these muscles are worked more intensely when walking on an incline.
  • The gluteus medius and minimus, located deeper in the hip, work to pull the leg sideways away from the body and help control the position of the pelvis. During walking they have an important role in keeping the pelvis stable when our body-weight is on one leg,
  • During leg swing the sartorius, iliopsoas, tensor fasciae latae, pectineus, and adductor longus and brevis are active in controlling the leg.

Lower Leg

  • The tibialis anterior muscle is worked extensively while walking to lift the toes off the ground.
  • The gastrocnemeus and soleus are responsible for plantar flexion (lifting the heel). They are activated on the rear foot when pushing off the ground to propel yourself forward,
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Back Muscles

  • Of the back muscles the most important ones in walking are the erector spinae muscle s.
  • During walking the erector spinae muscles work to control the movements of the trunk,


  • Much like the back muscles, the abdominal muscles help control the movement of the trunk during motion.
  • Activating the core whilst walking (eg pull in the belly button) improves the posture and makes for more efficient walking. The core has been referred to as the “powerhouse” or “the engine of all limb movements.”

Upper Body

  • When walking, the muscles of the arms are not involved as much as the lower limb. Only the flexor muscles of the shoulders and partly the elbows are involved during the forward movement, and the extensor muscles of these joints when moving arms are moving backward. The faster the stride the greater the arm swing.
  • Carry small hand weights to include your upper and lower arm muscles in this efficient full-body workout,

What causes tibialis anterior weakness?

Clinical Significance – Foot Drop Because the primary function of the tibialis anterior is dorsiflexion, paralysis of this muscle results in “foot drop,” or an inability to dorsiflex, this paralysis can be caused by nerve injury, like direct damage to the deep peroneal nerve, or a muscle disorder, like ALS.

“Foot drop” is often most obvious during gait when the patient cannot clear their foot during the swing phase. Tendinitis The tibialis anterior tendon (TAT), like any tendon, can become irritated and inflamed—a condition known as tibialis anterior tendinitis. Excessive tension on the tendon causes tendinitis, often due to repetitive, high-force activities, for example, hill running or direct contact with equipment, like a shoe that is too tight around the ankle and the tendon.

Because the tendon traverses the anterior ankle and inserts on the medial foot, most patients will complain of pain at the front of the ankle or the medial midfoot. Pain will be aggravated by the stressful activity and alleviated by rest. Symptoms usually present gradually and get progressively worse.

On exam, the patient will have tenderness over the tendon and maybe even swelling. Loading the tendon, as in dorsiflexion, will exacerbate the pain. Treatment is conservative. Because the injury is due to exertion, the primary treatment is limiting activity. NSAIDs can be used for analgesia. It is also important to stretch the calf, decreasing the resistance to dorsiflexion.

A stabilizing or restricting ankle brace may also decrease the load through the tendon. Tibial Stress Syndrome (Shin Splints) The tibialis anterior muscle is often overused, resulting in a tibial stress syndrome commonly known as shin splints. Anterior tibial stress syndrome (ATSS) is acute and experienced by new runners or walkers; medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) is more chronic and occurs in athletes.

The tibialis anterior muscle is more commonly involved in the former, while the tibialis posterior muscle is more commonly involved in the latter. However, the tibialis anterior can also cause MTSS. Both syndromes are caused by repetitive stress and strain on the tibia, often due to training errors or various biomechanical abnormalities.

Training errors include the recent onset of increased activity, intensity, or duration (doing “too much, too fast”) or running/walking on hard or uneven surfaces. Biomechanical abnormalities include hyperpronation of the subtalar joint (eversion) and tibial torsion.

Tibial stress syndrome, particularly MTSS, can progress to a stress fracture of the tibia. This is more common in females than males due to a higher incidence of diminished bone density and osteoporosis. In ATSS, the patient will present with tightness or tenderness in the anterior muscles of the leg that is aggravated by running or walking and alleviated with rest.

Anterior Tibialis Tendonitis Causes, Symptoms, Treatment Options

The pain may begin as a dull ache but often progresses to sharper pain. As the injury progresses, pain may be present even at rest. Since tibial stress syndrome results from overuse and repetitive stress, rest is the most important treatment in the acute phase.

  1. Ice and NSAIDs can provide analgesia.
  2. It is critical to modify the training routine and add stretching and strengthening exercises in the long term.
  3. Stretching helps prevent muscle fatigue and subsequent strain on the tibia where muscles attach; strengthening muscles, like the tibialis anterior, helps control movement to reduce stress on the tibia.
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It is also important to correct underlying biomechanical abnormalities. Anterior Compartment Syndrome Compartment syndrome occurs when tissue pressure within a closed, non-extensible muscle compartment exceeds the perfusion pressure. Pressure greater than 30 mm Hg (in relaxed muscles, normal tissue pressure is 10 to 12 mm Hg) compromises circulation and can lead to necrosis and/or ischemia.

  1. In acute compartment syndrome, the increased pressure is caused by bleeding or edema, usually due to fracture or trauma.
  2. In chronic compartment syndrome (CCS), the increased pressure in skeletal muscle is due to overexertion.
  3. Unlike other exertional injuries, like ATSS or MTSS, chronic compartment syndrome won’t respond to NSAIDs or physical therapy.

In the leg, the anterior compartment is most frequently affected by compartment syndrome. Patients with compartment syndrome often present with ischemic pain, described as greater pain than one might expect given the clinical situation. The pain can be reproduced by passively stretching the muscles in the affected compartment.

  • For example, in anterior compartment syndrome, plantarflexion will increase pain.
  • In CCS, like other exertional injuries, the pain is aggravated by activity and alleviated by rest.
  • Patients may also develop paresthesia due to nerve ischemia or paralysis of the affected muscles; however, neurological symptoms may also be due to a concurrent nerve injury.

Ischemia may also lead to pallor and pulselessness, though the latter may be a sign of arterial injury instead. Finally, swelling is common and can make the leg feel firm and “wooden” upon palpation. Early diagnosis of compartment syndrome is critical to avoiding poor outcomes, such as infection, contracture, and amputation.

  1. Diagnosis requires awareness of the syndrome and appropriate examination.
  2. Intra-compartmental pressure can also be measured to diagnose compartment syndrome.
  3. Fasciotomy is the standard treatment; the recommendation is to decompress all four compartments.
  4. Chronic compartment syndrome can be treated nonoperatively with complete cessation of all causative activities and massage therapy.

In general, nonoperative treatment is unsuccessful.

What condition is associated with tibialis anterior muscle?

Description – Tibial muscular dystrophy is a condition that affects the muscles at the front of the lower leg. The signs and symptoms of this condition typically appear after age 35. The first sign is usually weakness and wasting (atrophy) of a muscle in the lower leg called the tibialis anterior.

  • This muscle helps control up-and-down movement of the foot.
  • Weakness in the tibialis anterior muscle makes it difficult or impossible to walk on the heels, but it usually does not interfere significantly with regular walking.
  • Muscle weakness worsens very slowly in people with tibial muscular dystrophy.

Ten to 20 years after the onset of symptoms, weakness may develop in muscles that help extend the toes (long-toe extensors). Weakness in these muscles makes it difficult to lift the toes while walking, a condition known as foot drop. Later in life, about one third of people with tibial muscular dystrophy experience mild to moderate difficulty with walking because of weakness in other leg muscles.