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Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

What Is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a compression, or squeezing, on the posterior tibial nerve that produces symptoms anywhere along the path of the nerve running from the inside of the ankle into the foot.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs in the wrist. Both disorders arise from the compression of a nerve in a confined space.

Causes

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by anything that produces compression on the posterior tibial nerve, such as:

  • A person with flat feet is at risk for developing tarsal tunnel syndrome, because the outward tilting of the heel that occurs with fallen arches can produce strain and compression on the nerve.
  • An enlarged or abnormal structure that occupies space within the tunnel can compress the nerve. Some examples include a varicose vein, ganglion cyst, swollen tendon or arthritic bone spur.
  • An injury, such as an ankle sprain, may produce inflammation and swelling in or near the tunnel, resulting in compression of the nerve.
  • Systemic diseases, such as diabetes or arthritis, can cause swelling, thus compressing the nerve.

Symptoms

Patients with tarsal tunnel syndrome experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Tingling, burning or a sensation similar to an electrical shock
  • Numbness
  • Pain, including shooting pain

Treatment

You can take anti-inflammatory medications (including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce inflammation, which may alleviate compression of the nerve. Resting, icing, compression, and elevation, known as the RICE treatment, may also help reduce swelling and inflammation.

After pain decreases ease back to your normal activities, taking advantage of these ankle exercises.

Contact Us:

If you are experiencing Foot & Ankle Pain, it may be due to Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Contact Pittman Physical Therapy in Collierville, TN today to schedule your appointment.