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Causes and Symptoms of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Monday, 14 December 2020 00:00

Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when there is a compression or squeezing of the posterior tibial nerve as it travels through the tarsal tunnel. The tarsal tunnel is a narrow space that lies on the inside of the ankle and it contains arteries, veins, tendons and nerves, including the tibial nerve. There can be a variety of causes for this compression such as an abnormal structure in the area, a cyst or bone spur, an injury that causes inflammation like an ankle sprain, and diseases like arthritis and diabetes. Those who have flat feet are also at a higher risk for tarsal tunnel syndrome because the heel tilts and can strain or stress to the nerve. Symptoms individuals experience consist of pain or numbness to the affected area, or a burning or tingling sensation which is often described similar to “pins and needles." Common treatment options for tarsal tunnel syndrome include orthotics, braces, rest, physical therapy, and in severe cases, surgery. If you are suffering from any symptom of tarsal tunnel syndrome it is important to visit a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact Cynthia Ferrelli, DPM of New York. 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 Williamsville, NY . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Treating Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
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