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The Posterior Tibialis: Key Anatomy for Athletes and Its Link to ACL Injuries and More

As we continue to explore anatomy and physiology in a holistic manner we start to identify key muscles that are contributors that often get overlooked when training to reduce injury risk.


The Posterior Tibialis is one of them.


All athletes use this muscle to help with change of direction, ankle stability and arch support.


Understanding the Posterior Tibialis




The posterior tibialis muscle is a crucial component of the lower leg's anatomy, making it particularly relevant to soccer players. This muscle runs along the posterior (back) side of the shin, and its primary functions include plantarflexion, inversion, and assisting in supporting the arch of the foot.


Plantarflexion refers to the movement of pointing the toes downward, which is essential for actions like pushing off the ground, a common movement in soccer. Inversion is the movement that turns the sole of the foot inward, contributing to stability and balance, two crucial elements for soccer players who need to make agile movements and quick changes in direction.


The posterior tibialis muscle plays a significant role in supporting the arch of the foot. This muscle runs along the posterior side of the shin and attaches to several bones in the foot, including the navicular bone. When it contracts, it helps in:


Maintaining the Arch: The posterior tibialis muscle assists in maintaining the arch of the foot. It counteracts the tendency of the arch to collapse when weight is placed on the foot, especially during activities like standing, walking, and running.


The Posterior Tibialis and the Arch are a main contributor to Plantar Fasciitis, which is one of the most misdiagnosed overuse injuries in our opinion, leaving people to purchase special orthopedic inserts.


The inserts are assisting the Arch of the foot, placing the Ankle joint into a better position and reducing the stress placed on the Posterior Tibialis.


Inversion of the Foot: This muscle also contributes to the inversion of the foot, which is turning the sole of the foot inward. This movement helps in stabilizing the foot and arch, preventing excessive pronation (rolling inward) that can lead to arch collapse.


How does this translate to performance?


The Posterior Tibialis and Soccer Performance


For soccer players, strong and well-conditioned posterior tibialis muscles are essential. These muscles assist in actions such as sprinting, cutting, pivoting, and maintaining balance during play. Weak posterior tibialis muscles can lead to a higher risk of ankle injuries and decreased performance. Training and conditioning of these muscles can help prevent these issues.


The Tibia Slope and ACL Injuries


Now, let's explore the connection between the tibia slope and ACL injuries, a topic of great importance for soccer players. The tibia slope refers to the angle at which the top of the shinbone (tibia) is positioned in relation to the knee joint. A steeper slope can increase the risk of ACL injuries.


Studies have shown that soccer players with a steeper tibia slope may be at a higher risk of ACL injuries due to the increased strain on the ligament during activities like sudden changes in direction, jumping, and landing. It's important to note that the tibia slope is not something that can be easily changed through training, but it is a factor to consider when developing injury prevention strategies.


If you are struggling with common overuse injuries, schedule a Corrective Care appointment with one of our trainers and learn more about how we can improve your health and performance.















References:


1. Brophy, R. H., & Silvers, H. J. (2010). Posterior Tibial Slope in the NFL: A Risk Factor for Posterolateral Complex Injury in Professional American Football Players. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 38(12), 2380-2384.


2. Lee, J. H., & O'Malley, M. J. (2008). Internal Tibial Torsion in Excessive Pronation of the Foot. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 38(10), 523-529.


3. Sugimoto, D., et al. (2017). Comparison of Tibial Slope Among Patients with Different Types of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Pathology and Controls. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, 25(4), 1210-1214.



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