Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is like carpal tunnel syndrome of the hand.  It is an entrapment of the main nerve into the foot and causes numbness and tingling to the bottoms of the feet.

The area in the foot that is located between bones and fibrous tissue is known as the tarsal tunnel. There are several nerves, arteries, veins, and tendons that lie inside this portion of the foot. If these nerves should be compressed, inflammation may occur and may be indicative of a condition that is referred to as tarsal tunnel syndrome. This uncomfortable ailment may be the result of different forms of arthritis, tumors that may be benign, or from a possible fracture. Additionally, medical conditions including flat feet or specific foot deformities can cause narrowing of this “tunnel” and may precede the onset of this condition. Patients will typically be aware of noticeable symptoms that may include numbness or tingling over the sole of the foot, in addition to pain and a burning sensation. If you feel you may have tarsal tunnel syndrome, it is advised to consult with a podiatrist who can perform a proper diagnosis and discuss correct treatment options.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact Dr. John Hoy of Seattle Foot and Ankle Center. 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 Seattle, WA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which there is a compression of the posterior tibial nerve. The posterior tibial nerve runs along the inside of the ankle into the foot. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is named for the tarsal tunnel, which is a thin space along the inside of the ankle beside the ankle bones. This space contains various nerves, arteries, and tendons, and includes the posterior tibial nerve. 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 compressed, causing tingling or burning, numbness, and pain.

Common causes of tarsal tunnel syndrome involve pressure or an injury. Injuries that produce inflammation and swelling in or around the tunnel may place pressure on the posterior tibial nerve. Direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or trauma to the tibial nerve, can result in tarsal tunnel syndrome. Diseases that damage nerves, such as diabetes or arthritis, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome. Those with flat feet are at risk for developing the condition, as the extra pressure and strain placed on the foot may compress the posterior tibial nerve.

Feeling different sensations in the foot at different times is a common symptom of tarsal tunnel syndrome. An afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg. Symptoms are primarily felt on bottom of the foot and/or the inside of the ankle. Symptoms can appear suddenly and may occur due to overuse of the foot.

To diagnose tarsal tunnel syndrome, your podiatrist may examine the foot and tap the posterior tibial nerve to see if symptoms surface. He or she may also order an MRI to determine if a mass is present.

Treating tarsal tunnel syndrome will depend on the decision of your podiatrist. Multiple options are available, however, and can include rest, ice, immobilization, oral medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), physical therapy, injection therapy, orthotics, supportive shoes, braces, and surgery.