Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a foot condition that is similar to a common wrist condition called carpal tunnel syndrome. Nerve compression causes both conditions, and in the case of tarsal tunnel syndrome, the compression occurs on the posterior tibial nerve, located inside the tarsal tunnel near the ankle bones. This tunnel is formed by thick ligaments and encloses some of the major tendons, nerves, veins, and arteries of the foot.
The squeezing of the posterior tibial nerve can cause a sudden burning and tingling sensation or a numbness on the inside of the ankle or on the bottom of the foot.
Causes of tarsal tunnel syndrome include:
- Injury—Severely straining or spraining your ankle can cause swelling near the tarsal tunnel that compresses the nerve.
- Flat feet—Individuals with untreated flat feet may experience added stress to the tarsal tunnel area due to the outward tilting of the heel and associated pressure imbalance.
- Systemic diseases—Arthritis and diabetes are two of the many inflammatory conditions that can contribute to nerve compression due to the swelling of tissues near the nerves.
- Physical blockage—A ganglion cyst, varicose vein, enlarged tendon, or a bone spur are some of the things that can take up space in the tarsal tunnel and cause compression of the nerve. Treatment may involve removal of the offending blockage.
Treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome
Tarsal tunnel syndrome may respond well to conservative treatments involving resting, icing, immobilization, and possible steroid injections. Ultrasound and physical therapy can also relieve symptoms. Custom fitted orthotic inserts can correct arch and abnormal movements that contribute to the nerve compression and pain. A foot brace may be needed to reduce pressure, and in severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
If you are experiencing symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome, or have some other foot or ankle problem, schedule an appointment with the Foot First Podiatry in New Albany, IN. Our highly qualified podiatrist Dr. Zahid Ladha is dedicated to providing the best diagnostic care and medical treatment for you and your feet. Contact us at (812) 945-9221 and schedule an appointment today!