Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a compression of the posterior tibial nerve, which is located within the tarsal tunnel. The tarsal tunnel is a narrow space on the inside of the ankle next to the ankle bones. Within it are many structures like arteries, veins, tendons, and nerves, including the posterior tibial nerve, which is a branch of the sciatic nerve that runs along your shinbone and into your foot. It is important for a podiatrist to evaluate you since prolonged, untreated symptoms can lead to permanent nerve damage.

Causes of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Arthritis , which can cause swelling and compression of the nerve
  • Diabetes , which can cause swelling and compression of the nerve
  • Enlarged or abnormal structure (arthritic bone spurs , ganglion cysts, swollen tendons, or varicose veins) within the tarsal tunnel, which can cause compression of the nerve
  • Flat feet
  • Injury, such as an ankle sprain , which can cause inflammation and swelling, leading to compression of the nerve
  • Pain caused by extended standing or walking or by beginning a new exercise program

Symptoms of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Burning, tingling sensations or sensations resembling electrical shock
  • Numbness
  • Pain

Treatments for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Bracing to reduce pressure on the foot
  • Custom-made orthotics --NOPA offers more than 150 unique varieties
  • Ice your foot using an ice pack or towel in which to wrap the ice; do this for 20 minutes at a time with 40-minute intervals in between periods of icing
  • Immobilization
  • Oral medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Rest
  • Steroid injection therapy
  • Surgery, in the most severe cases
  • Wearing properly fitting, supportive shoes

Prevention of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Proper warm-ups before exercising
  • Resting your feet between workouts
  • Wearing padded socks
  • Wearing properly fitting shoes

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