Causes And Symptoms Of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

By Allan Tan

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition characterized by pressure on the nerves of the ankle and foot. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome that affects the wrist and hands.

The tarsal tunnel is a narrow space in the ankle through which the nerves to the foot pass as well as the arteries and veins. The nerves that pass through the tarsal tunnel of the ankle can become irritated by pressure placed on the nerves.

The posterior tibial nerve that passes through the tarsal tunnel is commonly affected by tarsal tunnel syndrome. Tarsal tunnel syndrome causes numbness, tingling, burning sensations, and pain in the foot. The bottom of the foot and inside of the ankle is the location of the pain in most cases.

Injury to the ankle or overuse from repetitive activity such as standing or walking for extended periods of time can trigger the onset of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Swelling from an injury to the ankle can put pressure on the nerves of the tarsal tunnel.

Some medical conditions compromise the space of the tarsal tunnel or put pressure on it which increases the risk of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Fallen arches, diabetes, arthritic spurs, varicose veins, and being overweight can make someone prone to tarsal tunnel syndrome.

If tarsal tunnel syndrome is left untreated, this condition can cause permanent nerve damage. Treatment for tarsal tunnel is focused on reducing the pressure on the tarsal tunnel. With treatment, the irritation of the nerve may subside if pressure is reduced.

Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflamatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used to reduce pain and inflammation. Ice packs may also be used.

To reduce the pressure on the tarsal tunnel, the doctor may recommend the use of orthotics shoe inserts or supportive shoes. Patients with severe cases of tarsal tunnel syndrome may benefit from the use of fitted braces. Injections of anesthetics or surgery may be necessary to treat tarsal tunnel syndrome that does not improve with noninvasive treatment methods.

Because pain, numbness, and tingling in the feet can be caused by a number of conditions, a person experiencing these symptoms should be examined by a doctor for proper diagnosis. Treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome is often effective and can prevent permanent nerve damage. - 30540

About the Author:

Sign Up for our Free Newsletter

Enter email address here