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What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

Tuesday, 06 July 2021 00:00

The tarsal tunnel is a narrow structure on the inside of the ankle, which lies next to the ankle bones. Nerves, arteries, veins, and tendons pass through the tarsal tunnel. The tibial nerve, which runs down the back of the leg, eventually makes its way through the tarsal tunnel to innervate the sole of the foot. When the tibial nerve gets compressed or squeezed within the tarsal tunnel, it can produce pain, tingling, burning, or numbness along its path in the foot. Typical causes of tarsal tunnel syndrome include an injury to the ankle that causes inflammation near the tunnel, undue strain on the tibial nerve due to flat feet, something enlarged within the tarsal tunnel (such as a swollen vein, tendon, or cyst), and systemic diseases that cause swelling, such as arthritis and diabetes. If you believe you may have tarsal tunnel syndrome, early diagnosis and treatment from a podiatrist can help relieve your pain, halt the progression of the disorder, and prevent possible permanent nerve damage.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact Matthew McQuaid, DPM of Lake Mendocino Podiatry. 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 offices located in Lakeport and Ukiah, CA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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