Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome - Plano
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is a painful foot condition which occurs when the posterior tibial nerve, which runs from the back of the leg to the foot, experiences an external pressure or impingement. It usually affects the bottom of the foot but may lead to pain in the toes as well.

The tarsal tunnel is located on the inside of the ankle. It is formed when a dense band of muscles, known as the flexor retinaculum, curl up to form a tube-like structure along the ankle bone. When the tibial nerve gets compressed while passing through the tarsal tunnel, it is termed at Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.

Causes Of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Increased pressure on the tibial nerve due to Flat Feet
  • Lesions inside the ankle such as Lipoma, cyst or bone spur may pressurize the nerve, veins and arteries
  • Swelling in the ankle or foot due to an injury may compress the nerve
  • Conditions like Diabetes and Arthritis may also cause inflammation that irritates the tibial nerve

Symptoms Of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Pain and burning sensation at the base of the foot
  • Numbness
  • Tingling or pins and needles sensation across the sole and ankle
  • Limping
  • Relief from pain while resting

Diagnosis Of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Physical Examination

  • The doctor may ask the patient about the history of pain, its frequency or any injury sustained. The foot may be tapped at various spots to check the location of pain and if there is a loss of sensation. He may also look for signs of an abnormal growth.
Imaging Tests

  • An electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test may be required to examine the nerves in the foot.
  • An X-Ray, CT scan or MRI test may be recommended if lesions or an abnormal growth is suspected

Treatment For Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Non Surgical Treatment

  • Rest: To provide relief from pain, resting and elevating the foot may be recommended.
  • Ice compress: Cold therapy may be done at least thrice a day to reduce pain and swelling in the ankle.
  • Orthotics: Shoe inserts may be worn to relieve symptoms caused due to over pronation of the foot.
  • Brace: Patients having Flat Foot and experiencing severe pain may wear a brace to reduce pressure and limit movement of the foot.
  • Medications: NSAIDs (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) may be recommended to provide relief from pain and swelling. In severe cases, steroidal injections may also be prescribed by the doctor.

Surgical Treatment

Surgical intervention may be required to decompress the nerve or release the Tarsal Tunnel from pain and swelling. Small incisions are made at the back of the foot to remove the soft tissues. Growths like tumor, lipoma or varicose veins may also be eliminated to make space for the tibial nerve.  

For effective treatment of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor.