Effect of the posterior tibial tendon on the arch of the foot during simulated weightbearing: biomechanical analysis

A cadaver study was performed to determine the effect of the posterior tibial tendon (PTT) on the stability of the foot in simulated midstance phase of gait. Thirteen fresh-frozen human foot specimens were used. Loads were applied axially and to each tendon. Three-dimensional positions of tarsal bones before and after tendon loading were determined with the use of a magnetic tracking device. Significant differences in tarsal bone positions were observed with application of loads to the Achilles, posterior tibial, flexor digitorum longus, peroneus longus, and peroneus brevis tendons at the metatarsotalar, calcaneotalar, and talotibial joints and in overall arch height. These tendon loads caused position changes toward arch flattening or mild pes planus deformity. Significant differences in tarsal bone positions were observed with PTT loading compared with no PTT loading in metatarsotalar, calcaneotalar, and talotibial levels as well as arch height. The PTT caused position changes toward restoring the arch alignment. These data suggest that the PTT is an important stabilizer of the arch of the foot.

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