TARSAL TUNNEL SYNDROME AND HOW TO TREAT IT
posted: Aug 02, 2018.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition caused by repeated pressure that results in damage on the posterior tibial nerve. Your tibial nerve branches off of the sciatic nerve and is found near your ankle.
The tibial nerve runs through the tarsal tunnel, which is a narrow passageway inside your ankle that is bound by bone and soft tissue. Damage of the tibial nerve typically occurs when the nerve is compressed as a result of consistent pressure.
People with tarsal tunnel syndrome may experience pain, numbness, or tingling. This pain can be felt anywhere along the tibial nerve, but it’s also common to feel pain in the sole of the foot or inside the ankle. This can feel like:
- sharp, shooting pains
- pins and needles
- an electric shock
- a burning sensation
Causes can include:
- severely flat feet, because flattened feet can stretch the tibial nerve
- benign bony growths in the tarsal tunnel
- varicose veins in the membrane surrounding the tibial nerve, which cause compression on the nerve
- inflammation from arthritis
- diabetes, which makes the nerve more vulnerable to compression
- Rest. Staying off the foot prevents further injury and encourages healing.
- Ice. Apply an ice pack to the affected area, placing a thin towel between the ice and the skin. Use ice for 20 minutes and then wait at least 40 minutes before icing again.
- Immobilization. Restricting movement of the foot by wearing a cast is sometimes necessary to enable the nerve and surrounding tissue to heal.
- Orthotic devices. Custom shoe inserts may be prescribed to help maintain the arch and limit excessive motion that can cause compression of the nerve.