Just like carpal tunnel syndrome, where a nerve becomes compressed near the wrist’s carpal bones causing numbness or burning, tarsal tunnel syndrome can cause similar pain in the foot.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs in a “tunnel” located next to the ankle bones on the inside of the ankle. This naturally-occurring tunnel houses nerves, veins, tendons and arteries enclosed in a thick ligament. One of these nerves is the posterior tibial nerve which becomes painful when compressed. Symptoms of pain and numbness may be felt on the inside of the ankle or the bottom of the foot.
The compression of this nerve within the foot’s tunnel can be caused by:
- Trauma to the foot like an ankle sprain that produces swelling and inflammation.
- Certain systemic diseases like arthritis or diabetes that cause swelling.
- Flat feet where the heel tilts outward, straining the nerve.
- Any type of abnormal formation that grows in the tunnel compressing the nerve; examples are a varicose vein, ganglion cyst, swollen tendon or arthritic bone.
Diagnosing and Treating Tarsal Tunnel
At Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle, we’ll carefully examine your foot and order images to rule out other conditions that may look and feel the same. We’ll also assess the loss of feeling in your foot.
We will start with non-invasive treatments:
- Elevate and rest the foot and apply ice frequently.
- Reduce inflammation with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – with your doctor’s permission.
- Corticosteroid injections to further lessen inflammation.
- Physical therapy to relieve pain.
- Wearing shoes with extra support.
- Custom-fitted orthotics to reduce any movements that worsen the nerve compression and to further support the arch.
- A cast can immobilize the foot to promote nerve and tissue healing.
- A foot brace will lessen pressure especially for those with severe symptoms or flat feet.
If your symptoms are not relieved by these conservative options, we discuss surgery with you.
Don’t let the pain of tarsal tunnel syndrome continue untreated as it won’t heal by itself and may worsen.
Take Action To Get Relief from the Pain of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Dr. Lawrence J. Kales, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to diagnose and treat tarsal tunnel syndrome or any type of foot or ankle pain. Please come in to Pasco-Hernando Foot & Ankle for an examination – you can request an appointment via the website or call us at our Hudson office at 727 868-2128 or our Spring Hill office at 352 683-5799. Let us help relieve your pain and discomfort from tarsal tunnel.