Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a nerve problem that starts in your ankle area and can extend to the arch, toes, heel and calf. At Gentle Professional Foot Care we have seen patients where the symptoms of tingling, numbness, burning or pain come on quite suddenly, perhaps after a day with lots of standing or soon after starting a new exercise routine.
Tracking Down the Cause
The tarsal tunnel is a structure that houses nerves (including the posterior tibial nerve—the one that is affected in this syndrome), arteries, tendons and veins. When this tunnel is squeezed or the space gets cramped, compression of the nerve can occur, causing the symptoms described above. There are a variety of reasons why this may occur, ranging from certain diseases such as diabetes or arthritis, a cyst, swollen tendon, varicose vein or other abnormal or enlarged structure in the tunnel to an ankle injury or flat feet.
What Can be Done?
Our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, will do a complete examination of your feet and ankles. He will gently press around the tunnel area to see of there are any detectable masses. By manipulating your foot the podiatrist will try to reproduce your symptoms. Advanced imaging and nerve conduction tests may also be ordered. Once a diagnosis is confirmed and the root cause determined, the foot doctor can prescribe the correct treatment. Among the conservative measures available are:
·Resting the affected foot to promote healing and prevent further injury
·Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
·Injection therapy of local anesthetic and corticosteroid to reduce pain and inflammation
·Shoe modifications, including custom orthotics to help provide arch support and restrict motion that can increase compression of the nerve
·Bracing can be useful if the underlying cause of tarsal tunnel syndrome is flat feet
·Physical therapy in the form of ultra sound, exercise and other modalities can be used to reduce symptoms
It’s important to seek treatment promptly because compression that is left untreated can lead to permanent nerve damage. If you have experienced any of the above symptoms, contact our Venice office (941-493-7999) for an appointment as soon as possible.