Tuesday, 01 February 2022 00:00

What Is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

If the bottom of your foot starts hurting while performing an activity, especially later in the day, you may be afflicted with a condition known as tarsal tunnel syndrome. The discomfort, which generally begins in the heel and moves to the sole of the foot, presents itself as sharp, shooting, or burning pain that sometimes turns to numbness. It is caused by compression or repetitive stretching of the tibial nerve that branches off from the sciatic nerve and runs down the lower leg to the ankle and then the foot. In some cases, a bone spur or other growth may press on the nerve causing pain. People with flat feet are said to have an increased risk for developing tarsal tunnel syndrome due to flattened arches that can stretch the tibial nerve. Walking and gaining weight can also make the condition worse. Some ways to alleviate symptoms include wearing comfortable shoes, stopping activities that exacerbate the pain, stretching the calf muscles, and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Custom orthotics may ease the condition as well, and corticosteroid injections can reduce the inflammation. It is a good idea to schedule an appointment with a podiatrist who can direct your treatment and provide the expert care you need. 

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact James Pak, DPM of California. Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can also be called tibial nerve dysfunction, is an uncommon condition of misfiring peripheral nerves in the foot. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the tibial nerve is damaged, causing problems with movement and feeling in the foot of the affected leg.

Common Cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Involves pressure or an injury, direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or near the knee.
  • Diseases that damage nerves, including diabetes, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.
  • At times, tarsal tunnel syndrome can appear without an obvious cause in some cases.

The Effects of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Different sensations, an afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg.
  • The foot muscles, toes and ankle become weaker, and curling your toes or flexing your foot can become difficult.
  • If condition worsens, infections and ulcers may develop on the foot that is experiencing the syndrome.

A physical exam of the leg can help identify the presence of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Medical tests, such as a nerve biopsy, are also used to diagnose the condition. Patients may receive physical therapy and prescriptive medication. In extreme cases, some may require surgery.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Anaheim, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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