Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome: symptoms & treatment options

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the posterior tibial nerve and is one of the most common nerve entrapments that affect the foot and ankle. The most common area of entrapment of this nerve is on the inside or medial aspect of the ankle. The nerve in this area runs through a tunnel that also houses an artery, vein, and 3 tendons. Thus any trauma or inflammation of any of the structures in that tunnel can compress the nerve and cause symptoms to of a compressed nerve to occur.

Signs and Symptoms of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Patient with tarsal tunnel syndrome will often present with numbness to the bottom of the foot, and shooting or burning pain into the foot or up the leg.   It is often worse with any type of pressure to the area.

Tarsal Tunnel Symptoms

Diagnosing Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is often tested by percussion of the nerve in the area of compression. A positive result would result in shooting or radiating pain down into the foot or up the leg. This diagnosis is often confirmed with nerve conduction studies to measure the function of the nerves. Although there can be false negative results in terms of local compression of the nerve, these studies can help reveal or distinguish whether or not there is any lower back involvement that are causing symptoms. A magnetic resonance image (MRI) or ultrasound may be helpful in identifying any soft tissue masses or swelling in the structures in the tarsal tunnel that may be compressing the nerve.

Tarsal Tunnel Treatment Options

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is treated by removing the source of compression on the tibial nerve. Physical therapy, rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce swelling of the tendon sheath and reduce pressure on the nerve. Local steroid injections are often used to reduce inflammation of the nerve. Additionally, custom inserts for shoes may help reduce strain on tendons that are swelling and causing compression. Surgery may be indicated if conservative measures fail. Surgery may sometimes involve removing a soft tissue mass if that is the source of compression. The most common surgical treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome is to release the ligament that forms the tarsal tunnel that houses the nerve, allowing more space for the structures in the tarsal tunnel and thereby reducing the compression on the nerve.

To improve the success of this procedure, a new product (amniotic membrane) is now being used to wrap around the neurovascular bundle, reducing scar tissue and inflammation after the surgery. This prevents adhesions from forming and thus would help reduce irritation of the structures in the tarsal tunnel after surgery.

Conclusion

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition of the foot and ankle that can affect ambulation and gait. It is a condition that can easily be misdiagnosed as heel pain or plantar fasciitis. It is important to have your foot and ankle evaluated by a specialist in order to get the best care and appropriate treatment for your feet.

If you are in need of expert foot or ankle care, make an appointment with a doctor at one of our nine Greater Los Angeles locations. Please call 877-989-9110 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com

The UFAI Education Team

The UFAI Education Team

For almost fifteen years, University Foot and Ankle Institute and their nationally recognized physicians have been providing the most technologically advanced medical care for the foot and ankle with the highest success rates in the country.

As a teaching institution, University Foot and Ankle Institute’s Fellowship Program is among the most advanced in the nation.

We at UFAI are driven to get our patients back to their normal activities with the highest level of function, in the least amount of time, using the least invasive treatments possible. From start to finish, we are with you every step of the way.

The UFAI Education Team works to help empower our patients and website visitors with the most up-to-date information about foot and ankle conditions, treatment options, recovery and injury prevention. Our goal is to pass on truly useful information to our readers.

We hope you enjoy our work and find it of value. Please let us know!
The UFAI Education Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Over 200,000 happy UFAI patients and growing
  • CustomerSure
    Dr. B and all the staff is awesome. I appreciate the level and focus of my care. I have, and will continue, to recommend Dr. Baravarian every chance I get.
    Stephen L.
  • ZocDoc
    Thorough exam with reasonable, cost effective solutions recommended.
    Catherine M.
  • Yelp
    Dr. Baravarian is a very caring and patient doctor. During my first visit with him he really took the time to listen to my concerns and talk to me about all my options regarding my chronic pain. I highly recommend Dr....
    Tina B.
  • ZocDoc
    Great appointment. Great communication. Explained my particular situation very well, blending medical terms and everyday terms. Staff was very friendly and answered all my questions.
    Anonymous
  • Yelp
    I had a bad break on my 5th metatarsal when I was out of state. I called Dr. Franson's office as soon as I came back home. The office staff was great and got me right in. Dr Franson was amazing and took great care of...
    Glenna Rae W.
  • Yelp
    Saw Doctor Franson for some pain that was shooting down from my hip area to ankle/foot. The doctor seemed very knowledgeable and professional. Front office staff is very friendly as well. I would recommend!
    O. P.
  • Yelp
    I was treated by Dr. Franson last summer after waking up to a debilitating ankle pain. I had been to several doctors in the weeks leading up to Dr. Franson's office visit with no real diagnosis or treatment. Dr. Fra...
    Ecole L.
  • CustomerSure
    Awesome!
    Gayle H.
  • CustomerSure
    PT Staff are very nice and knowledgeable. It took me a little time to understand how the PT was correcting my issue, but I think I've been cured!
    Terasa H.
  • Yelp
    My feet have been killing me for the past two months and I put off getting it checked out. I finally came to see Dr. Briskin and I regret nothing! My appointment time was mostly kept and he found the problem right awa...
    Cynthia S.
Same Day Appointments
Now Available!

Or call 877-989-9110

24 hours a day, 7 days a week