Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment
The tarsal tunnel is a narrow passageway inside the ankle. Soft tissue and bone make up this tunnel. The tibial nerve, which is a branch off the sciatic nerve, runs through this area. When there is repeated pressure compressing the nerve, you can develop tarsal tunnel syndrome.
The symptoms of this condition include numbness, tingling or pain. The heel pain can be felt at any point along the tibial nerve; however, it is common to feel it inside the ankle or along the bottom of the foot. The pain may be sharp and shooting, pins and needles, a burning sensation or feel like an electric shock. Symptoms can develop over time or there may be a sudden onset of pain.
Some individuals may experience pain or discomfort when resting or when trying to sleep. Usually, the symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome are most often felt during physical activity and can increase during these times.
Cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
In addition to compression of the tibial nerve, other causes of this condition include:
- Inflammation caused by arthritis
- Stretching of the tibial nerve due to extremely flat feet
- Bony growths in the tarsal tunnel
- Tumors or lipomas near the tibial nerve
- Ankle sprain or fracture
- Compression on the nerve caused by varicose veins in the membrane surrounding the tibial nerve
A thorough examination can identify the cause of the condition and guide your doctor in determining the most effective treatment. It is important to seek medical care because neglecting treatment may lead to irreversible nerve damage. The permanent damage caused by untreated tarsal tunnel syndrome may result in constant pain and difficulty in walking.
Treatment for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Once your doctor determines the cause of your tarsal tunnel syndrome, treatment options will be discussed. The RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) therapy may be advised. This can reduce the compression of the nerve and reduce the swelling. Anti-inflammatory pain medication will help alleviate the pain.
Swelling in the affected area may also respond to steroid injections. Some individuals may need to immobilize the foot. This is accomplished with braces and splints which limit the movements that could compress the nerve. Custom-made arch supporting shoes are helpful to people who have tarsal tunnel syndrome because of extremely flat feet.
Some individuals may require surgery to release the ligament and relieve the nerve. This surgery can be done using a minimally invasive technique which can lower your risk of complications.
If you are experiencing pain in your foot or ankle, schedule an appointment with Dr. Stuart Mogul, one of New York City’s finest foot and ankle surgeons. Call today to book your consultation.