What is the role of the posterior tibial muscle?

The tibialis posterior muscle is one of the more important muscles in the leg and foot. The muscle is attached to the back of the tibia or leg bone and runs down the inside of the ankle and its tendon attaches to the arch of the foot. Just from knowing about its attachments it is clear that its primary role is supporting the arch of the foot. However, that is not its only role and its function is very complicated. A failure of the tendon and muscle complex results in a serious progressive flat foot. A recent episode of the podiatry related livestream, PodChatLive devoted a whole episode to the tibialis posterior muscle. The expert interviewed by the hosts was Dr Jayishni Maharaj PhD.

In that episode of PodChatLive they did some revision of the structural anatomy of the Tibialis Posterior muscle and tendon unit and what it might do. They discussed with Jayishni Maharaj just what she studied for her PhD with regard to its function, role in energy absorption and influence on subtalar joint energetics. They discussed the correlation with foot posture and foot mobility, and also some of the management strategies that are often used such as footwear advice, foot orthoses and strengthening exercises. They also talked about one that many may not be aware of such as increasing step width. Jayishni Maharaj is a research fellow in the School of Human Movements and Nutrition Sciences and Centre of Children’s Research at the University of Queensland in Australia. Jayishni’s research is at the intersection of biomechanics, rehabilitative and computer sciences and is focusing on exploring the relationship between foot structure, function and injury in the foot. In her current position she is working on integrating biplanar X-ray radiography, modelling and simulation techniques to validate musculoskeletal foot models.  She is in clinical practice as a podiatrist one day a week.

 

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