Top of the Foot Pain:

Anterior Tibialis Tendonitis [Tibialis Anterior Muscle Pain Treatment]

Do you have top of the foot pain & front of the ankle pain? This might be anterior tibialis tendonitis! We go over tibialis anterior pain!

Anterior tibialis tendonitis stretch exercises
Pain on the top of the foot and the inside of the foot can be tibialis anterior tendonitis. This results from inflammation of the anterior tibialis tendon and the anterior tibialis muscle.

Table of Contents

Tibialis anterior tendonitis exercises, stretches & treatment video:

Sore tibialis anterior tendon pain treatment video summary:

🦶Do you have a swollen top of the foot or top of the foot pain? What about the front of the ankle pain when running? This might be anterior tibialis tendon pain!🦶

If you have anterior tibialis Tendonitis, let us help with your anterior tibialis muscle pain and your anterior tibialis tendon pain. We review the best Tendonitis on top of the foot treatment!

0:00 Tibialis anterior tendonitis treatment
0:24 Tendonitis on top of the foot treatment
0:35 Tibialist anterior function
0:55 Anterior tibialis tendon pain treatment
1:08 Foot pain on top of the foot
1:35 Tibialis anterior origin and insertion
1:46 Tibialis anterior tendonitis podiatrist treatment
2:40 Tibialis anterior muscle pain relief
2:55 Tibialis anterior massage and icing
3:30 Tibialis anterior tendonitis massage
4:15 Best creams for ankle tendonitis pain
4:30 Medications for tibialis anterior Tendonitis
4:50 Podiatrist biomechanical analysis
5:07 Tibialis anterior tendonitis walking pain
6:30 Best shoes for tibialis anterior Tendonitis
7:17 Best orthotics for tibialis anterior tendonitis pain relief
8:07 Cross-training for ankle tendonitis
8:30 Tibialis anterior Tendonitis running pain
9:30 Tibialis anterior tendonitis stretches
10:30 Tibialis anterior tendonitis exercises

What is the anterior tibialis tendon of the anterior tibialis muscle?

The anterior tibialis muscle runs down the front of the shin, and it becomes a tendon as it connects the muscle to the bone. The anterior tibial tendon lies on the inner front of the ankle. The anterior tibial muscle and tendon work together to flex the foot upwards and inwards.

  • Tibialis anterior pain occurs when the tendon is inflamed from overuse (usually sports and working) or traumatic ankle injury.
  • If tibialis anterior muscle pain is left untreated, the tendon can eventually become chronic tendonitis. In severe cases, the anterior tibialis tendon can tear or rupture and is very difficult to treat.
  • In some patients, the muscle can become weak, leading to a “drop foot.” Drop foot means that the person can no longer lift their foot while walking, and this can cause the foot to drag and lead to tripping.

Where is the tibialis anterior located?

The following shows the tibialis anterior origin and insertion as well as the anterior tibialis location:

Tibialis anterior origin:

The anterior tibialis origin is from the:

The lateral condyle and upper half or two-thirds of the lateral surface of the body of the tibia, the adjoining part of the interosseous membrane, and the deep surface of the fascia and the intermuscular septum between it and the Extensor digitorum longus.

Tibialis anterior insertion:

The anterior tibialis tendon inserts on the medial under-surface of the first cuneiform bone, and the first metatarsal bone base blends into both bones.

Tibialis anterior innervation:

The anterior tibialis innervation is the deep peroneal nerve (With nerve roots L4, L5, S1)

Anterior tibialis muscle artery supply:

The anterior tibialis muscle artery supply is from the anterior tibial artery, which is the major artery to the anterior compartment of the leg.

Tibialis anterior function:

The tibialis anterior is the primary dorsiflexor of the ankle with the synergistic action of extensor hallucis longus, extensor digitorium longus, and peroneus tertius. It also serves to provide inversion of the foot and adduction of the foot.

The anterior tibialis muscle is a majority strengthening aid to assisting the medial arch of the foot. If this muscle were not present, the arch would collapse slightly.

The anterior tibialis antagonist function: 

The anterior tibialis muscle serves to provide eccentric deceleration of foot plantarflexion, eversion, and foot pronation.

Tibialis anterior tendonitis risk factors:

  • More common in women than in men
  • Running hills
  • A tight calf muscle
  • A tight hamstring muscle
  • Biomechanical asymmetry leading to abnormal muscle loading
  • Middle-aged and older individuals
  • High arched foot types
  • Cavus foot type

Anterior tibialis tendonitis symptoms:

  • Deep achy pain on the inner front of the ankle and the top of the foot
  • The feeling of ankle weakness
  • Swelling on the inner front of the ankle
  • Symptoms aggravated by walking and activity

Tibialis anterior tendonitis Diagnosis:

A podiatrist can perform Tibialis anterior tendonitis. As podiatrists, we are biased, but we believe we can provide the BEST foot and ankle care for your anterior tibialis tendonitis.

If you are in Michigan, see us for a no-obligation consultation for your anterior tibialis tendonitis.

Anterior tibialis tendonitis treatment
Anterior tibialis tendonitis is generally felt on top and the inside of the foot. The recovery time for anterior tibial tendon pain can sometimes be up to even 3 months when taking all the proper treatment precautions.

Tibialis anterior tendon pain treatment:

When diagnosed early, anterior tibialis tendonitis can be treated without surgery or costly treatment.

Bracing, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can also help relieve pain and inflammation.

Stretching the calf muscle can also help by putting less strain on the front of the ankle when flexing the foot.

When conservative methods do not alleviate symptoms, surgery may be an option. Typically surgery includes removing any damaged tendon (debriding) and possibly lengthening the calf muscle. A ruptured tendon always requires surgery and should only be performed by a specially trained foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon.

Best shoes for anterior tibialis tendonitis pain:

These are a link to our favorite shoes.

A great shoe can make a really big difference in offloading top of the foot pain and reducing anterior tibial tendon pain.

Click this link for our favorite shoes!

Best shoes for top of the foot pain
Click on this photo for our favorite shoes for anterior tibial tendon pain.

Best insoles & orthotics for anterior tibialis tendonitis pain:

These are our favorite shoes for anterior tibialis tendonitis pain, and these can make a really big difference in reducing the pain and taking pressure off the foot.

Click this link for our best orthotics for the top of the foot pain.

Top of the foot pain best orthotics
Click the above link to see our favorite orthotics and insoles for anterior tibialis tendonitis pain.


Steroid injections for anterior tibialis tendonitis:

Do not use corticosteroid injections for this condition.

Steroid injections for ankle tendonitis can accelerate the degenerative process, make the tendon more susceptible to further injury, longer recovery time, and increase the likelihood of rupture.

Tibialis anterior tendonitis pain relief:

You can start with the RICE protocol if you have painful tibialis anterior tendonitis, top of the foot pain, or the front of the ankle.

Tibialis anterior stretches:

In the video above, we detail our favorite tibialis anterior tendonitis stretches. The #1 way to relieve tibialis anterior tendon pain with stretching is to stretch the Achilles tendon and the hamstring. We usually find that when there is a tight calf muscle or a tight hamstring, the anterior ankle and top of the foot muscles work a little bit harder. A loose and flexible leg will make your anterior muscles work less hard because they do not fight tight muscles every day.

Tibialis anterior exercises:

Our favorite tibialis anterior exercises are detailed in the treatment video above. With that being said, exercising your calf muscle and your hamstring will allow your front of the ankle muscles, like your anterior tibialis tendon, a little bit better. Strengthening your muscles and getting a biomechanical evaluation by your podiatrist can be an important first step before tibialis anterior exercises.

Tibialis anterior workout:

The anterior tibialis muscle and tibialis anterior tendon strengthening can be difficult because they are small muscles. The tibialis interior workouts we recommend include working your calf muscle and your hamstring. Once these muscles are loose and more flexible, this can take pressure off your tibialis anterior tendon and muscle, and this will make it less tender and less overworked. This is probably the best way to perform a tibialis anterior workup. Please do not focus on the small little muscle in your workouts because this is not a large muscle that should perform any major lifting, and it is more of a stabilizing muscle.

Tibialis anterior tendonitis braces:

There are many great braces for anterior tibial tendonitis. A brace can help to prevent your foot from performing an abnormal motion. One thing to watch out for with tibialis anterior tendonitis braces is to ensure it is not too tight against the anterior tibial tendon. This can cause even more irritation and bother the tendon more.

Tibialis anterior strengthening:

In our opinion, it is possible to perform tibialis anterior tendon strengthening, focusing on other supporting muscles such as the gastrocnemius thigh muscles, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
If these muscles are loose and strengthened, the tibialis anterior tendon and muscle do not work as hard. This can lead to better function and better pain relief long-term while walking and functioning during the day.

Tibialis anterior tendonitis massage:

In the video above, we detail tibialis anterior tendinitis massages. These can be very effective for initially helping relieve tibialis anterior muscle pain and tibialis anterior tendon pain.

Tibialis anterior raises:

Tibialis anterior raises can be confused with calf raises. By strengthening and stretching the gastrocnemius or calf muscle, would take pressure off the anterior tibialis tendon. This would let it work not as hard during the day, allowing it to calm down and gradually create less inflammation in the tendon.

How to relieve a tight tibialis anterior:

The best way to relieve the tight tibialis anterior is to offloading and crosstraining the tendon. It could also help to loosen the gastrocnemius tendon and the gastrocnemius muscle tendon. If this is performed combined with good shoes and good orthotics, this can gradually relieve a tight tibialis anterior over time.

How to SPEED UP the healing time?

Shockwave therapy for anterior tibial tendonitis:

Shockwave therapy can be an effective way to help anterior tibial tendonitis treatment.

  • We have had success with this relatively safe and non-invasive therapy regarding treating the foot’s tendon and soft tissue injuries.
  • Shockwave therapy is very effective for chronic soft tissue injuries and foot pain.
  • Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive way to speed up the healing process with great results for chronic and acute conditions.
  • Learn more about shockwave therapy here!

MLS Laser Therapy:

MLS laser therapy is offered at our clinic for excellent relief of painful soft tissue injuries and chronic soft tissue pain.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections:

  • This can be an effective treatment option for foot and ankle problems such as chronic tendonitis.

Ruptured Anterior Tibial Tendon Repair:

  • Sometimes surgery may be necessary to assist in the healing of a ruptured anterior tibial tendon injury.
  • Anterior Tibial Tendonitis is a common condition seen with overuse of the tendon.
  • It may take a few weeks to months to improve, depending on the severity.
  • Many treatment modalities can speed up the recovery process and help you return to activity sooner.
  • A foot and ankle specialist can guide you in your diagnosis and recovery process.

Anterior tibialis tendon tear:

An anterior tibialis tendon rupture can be extremely difficult to repair, and this can require surgery with a trained reconstructive foot and ankle podiatrist.

  • We recommend getting an evaluation if you think that you have an anterior tibialis tendon rupture.
  • In our experience, these are extremely rare and are usually associated with trauma or a laceration like dropping a knife on your foot.
  • It is rare to rupture it with chronic overuse, although this is possible.

Tibialis anterior tendon rupture treatment:

If you have a partial tear or tear of the anterior tibial tendon, start with protecting the tendon.
This means rest ice compression and immobilization.
One recommended step would be to see your podiatrist for evaluation. This might require an x-ray, an ultrasound, or an MRI to assess bone or tendon injuries.
Your podiatrist will likely start you out in either a cast or a walking boot.
There are three grades of tears:
A grade 1 tear of your tibialis tendon usually means that it is only a partial tear. It is possible to prevent any further damage with good protection, and surgery is likely not necessary. Next line a grade 2 tear up to 6-8 weeks of treatment and offloading. This could mean a cast or a walking boot.
This could then be followed by starting physical therapy and rehabilitation exercise.
A grade 3 rupture means that this is a full rupture of the anterior tibial tendon. This very likely would require surgery unless this is a very debilitated patient with health problems.

Anterior tibialis tendon rupture repair surgery:

This can be a very difficult surgery that would require multiple incisions. This would require an incision on the top of your foot where the anterior tibial tendon inserts and where the rupture happened. At this point, it would be necessary to find both ends of the tendon, overlap them, and use sutures to reattach them.
In some cases, using a neighboring tendon such as the extensor hallucis longus can reattach the tendon and reattach the site.
After surgery, there will be immobilization for up to 6-8 weeks. This means using a cast, a walking boot, a wheelchair, and crutches to get around.
This would then be followed by physical therapy and recovery.

Rehabilitating and injured anterior tibial tendon:

If you have undergone an injured anterior tibial tendon or surgery for anterior tibial tendons, this might require surgery.
Rehabilitation can sometimes take up to 2-3 weeks after ending immobilization to start returning to normal activity. We have seen some patients that take up to 1 year to reach the final product, even with great care.

How to relieve a tight anterior tibialis tendon pain & tendonitis

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long is Tibialis anterior muscle strain recovery time:

The tibialis anterior muscle strain is possible. This is a strain within the muscle itself. This would be in the front outside of your leg. Or the anterior lateral aspect of your mid-leg.
On average, we see these take about 2-3 weeks to get better. It is possible to start icing these and to reduce her activity across three and in the meantime.


Is it possible to have Tibialis anterior pain near the knee:

Tibialis anterior pain near the knee is possible. This is a muscle belly that occupies the mid to superior aspect of the anterior lateral portion of the leg.
This can cause tenderness to the muscle belly, especially if there is a tibialis anterior muscle strain.

What to do if I have a tight tibialis anterior:

A tight tibialis anterior is possible if it is sore, and this is usually due to a tight calf muscle, a tight knee, or a tight hamstring.
We usually see the tibialis anterior muscle tendon as a secondary muscle that responds to the gastrocnemius’s tightness. If the ankle and calf are tight, the anterior tibialis is to work hard and the extensor tendons.
It is also tight after overuse, such as running hills, but practically we mostly see this with a tight knee, tight hamstring, and right ankle.


What does the tibialis anterior do?

We frequently hear the question, what does the anterior tibialis anterior do?
It serves to adduct the foot, invert the foot and dorsiflex the foot.
It also works to stabilize the arch while standing.
Overpronation can force the foot to flatten out and overworked the anterior tibialis tendon, and this can cause anterior tibial tendinitis and pain to the anterior tibial tendon.
It is more likely to have this muscle inflamed and tight if you have a tight gastrocnemius or ankle joint equinus.

How to stretch the tibialis anterior?

The video above shows her how to stretch the anterior tibialis tendon and reduce a tight anterior tibialis tendon.


Anterior tibialis shin splints?

Anterior tibialis shin splints are more common in runners, and posterior tibial tendonitis is fairly common for the back of the calf and inside of the calf shin splints. Still, if you have shinsplints anteriorly, this is due to the anterior tibialis muscle, known as anterior tibial shin splints.


Tibialis anterior strain?

Is it possible he has an anterior tibialis strain? Yes, it is possible to strain the anterior tibialis muscle, which can take about 2-3 weeks to feel better.

How to stretch the anterior tibialis muscle?

We have made an anterior tibialis tendon video, and it does go over how to stretch the anterior tibialis muscle above.

Tibialis anterior pain at night?

It is possible to have tibialis anterior pain at night if you have a tight and sore tibialis anterior.
This can lead to pain in the front of the leg, also known as anterior shin splints.

Tibialis anterior strengthening exercises?

In the treatment video above, we review how to perform tibialis anterior strengthening exercises.


Tibialis anterior pain running?

Tibialis anterior pain running is very common, and this is more likely in feet that are undergoing overpronation or have a tight hamstring, tight knee, or a tight gastrocnemius muscle. The patient does have tenderness through the calf muscle and the ankle.

Tibialis anterior tendon insertion?

The tibialis anterior tendon insertion is on the medial plantar aspect of the first cuneiform and navicular. The muscle functions to adduct, invert, and dorsiflex the foot.

Tibialis anterior tendonitis taping?

Is a possible performed tibialis anterior tendonitis taping? It is possible to form tibialis anterior tendonitis taping, but it is not the most effective form of taping.
It might be a better option to buy a lace-up ankle brace to relieve the pain.

Tibialis anterior trigger point?

A trigger point for the anterior tibialis tendon depends on where the pain is. The most common sources of pain are along the top of the foot, the middle of the muscle if there is a muscle strain and the anterior aspect of the ankle.

What is the tibialis anterior muscle-tendon?

The tibialis anterior muscle-tendon functions to adduct the foot, invert the foot and dorsiflex the foot. It originates on the anterior lateral aspect of the leg and the medial aspect of the foot.

Where is the anterior tibialis muscle located?

The anterior tibialis muscle is located originally on the anterior aspect of the leg, and it inserts in the dorsal medial portion of the foot.

How to strengthen the tibialis anterior?

In the video above, we show how to strengthen the tibialis anterior muscle tendon. It might be better to focus on stretching and loosening the antagonistic muscles such as the gastrocnemius, the plantar fascia, and the ankle joint.

How to perform a tibialis anterior massage?

In the video above, we show how to perform a tibialis anterior massage.


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