Maybe you’ve heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition in the wrist that occurs when swelling or a change in position of the tissue within the carpal tunnel squeezes and irritates the median nerve. Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome is tarsal tunnel syndrome, an ankle condition that occurs from the compression of a nerve in a confined space.
What is tarsal tunnel syndrome?
The tarsal tunnel is a narrow space located on the inside of the ankle next to the ankle bones. Protected by the tarsal tunnel are many arteries, veins, tendons, and nerves, one of which is the posterior tibial nerve- the main focus of tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by a compression of the posterior tibial nerve. Causes include:
- Injury to the ankle, which may produce swelling near the nerve
- Abnormal blood vessels or cysts that occupy space within the tunnel
- Scar tissue that presses against the nerve
- Foot deformities, such as flat feet which increase strain on the nerve
- Systematic diseases, such as diabetes or arthritis
When patients visit us at our Palm Bay office with tarsal tunnel syndrome, they often experience one or more symptoms, usually felt on the bottom of the foot or the inside of the ankle. In some cases, the pain may extend to the heel, arch, toes and calf. Symptoms include:
- Burning or tingling sensation
Step Ahead Podiatry can help
Whenever you experience pain, burning and tingling in your feet or toes, make an appointment with our Palm Bay office. Left untreated, tarsal tunnel syndrome could result in permanent nerve damage. Treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome varies depending on the severity of your condition. Anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, immobilization, rest and modifications in footwear are a few methods used to treat the damaged nerve and reduce the pain. When non-surgical treatments are unsuccessful, surgery may be recommended.