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01-12-2018 | Review | Uitgave 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2018

Self-reported social and activity restrictions accompany local impairments in posterior tibial tendon dysfunction: a systematic review

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2018
Megan H. Ross, Michelle Smith, Melanie L. Plinsinga, Bill Vicenzino
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13047-018-0292-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD) is a painful, progressive tendinopathy that reportedly predominates in middle-age, overweight women. There is no evidence based guidelines that clinicians can use to guide treatment planning, which leaves clinicians to make decisions on the basis of presenting clinical impairments and self-reported pain and disability. The purpose of this systematic review was to quantify clinical impairments, pain and disability in individuals with PTTD compared with controls.


Five databases were searched for terms referring to the posterior tibial tendon and flatfoot up to and including 11 March 2018. The systematic review was registered with PROSPERO (CRD: 42016046951). Studies were eligible if they were published in the English language and contained data on clinical impairments, pain or disability compared between participants diagnosed with PTTD and pain-free individuals. Standardised mean differences (SMDs) were calculated where possible and meta-analysis was performed when homogeneity of outcomes allowed.


Ten eligible studies were identified and pooled in the meta-analyses. Strong effects were revealed for poor heel rise endurance (SMD -1.52, 95% CI -2.05 to − 0.99), less forefoot adduction-inversion strength (SMD -1.19, 95% CI -1.68 to − 0.71) and lower arch height (SMD -1.76, 95% CI -2.29 to − 1.23). Compared to controls, individuals with PTTD also had more self-reported stiffness (SMD 1.45, 95% CI 0.91 to 1.99), difficulties caused by foot problems (SMD 1.42, 95% CI 0.52 to 2.33) and social restrictions (SMD1.26, 95% CI 0.25 to 2.27).


There is evidence of impaired tibialis posterior capacity and lowered arch height in individuals with PTTD compared to controls. Further to addressing the expected impairments in local tendon function and foot posture, pain, stiffness, functional limitations and social participation restrictions should be considered when managing PTTD.

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