What is a Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
The ankle contains a pathway that protects the nerves, arteries and tendons, called the tarsal tunnel. This is similar to the carpal tunnel in the wrists and can have similar issues if the tunnel is damaged. Tarsal tunnel syndrome involves symptoms relating to pressure or pinching of the posterior tibial nerve that passes through the tarsal tunnel. If you have symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome, our team at Medici Spine & Pain can help diagnose and treat your painful foot condition.
Causes and Symptoms of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Like carpal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome is a nerve condition. When a major nerve is compressed, it can cause numbness, tingling and pain. The posterior tibial nerve is the largest nerve in the foot, and it relies on protection from the tarsal tunnel. The tarsal tunnel is located on the inside of the ankle near the ankle bones. Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be caused by anything that creates compression of the posterior tibial nerve, which can include:
- Inflammation from arthritis or injury
- Abnormal growth within the tarsal tunnel, i.e. ganglion cyst, varicose veins or bone spurs
- Diabetes or systemic diseases that cause ankle swelling
- Those with flat feet or fallen arches can put strain and compression on the tarsal tunnel
When the posterior tibial nerve is compressed, shooting pain, tingling, burning or numbness may be felt on the interior portion of the affected foot. Typically, the sensations are felt on the inside ankle but can affect the bottom of the foot, heel and toes. Symptoms may begin suddenly, especially if the nerve compression is caused by injury or damage to the ankle.
It is important to have tarsal tunnel syndrome quickly diagnosed and treated to prevent damage to the posterior tibial nerve. Continued pressure can cause permanent nerve damage. Treatments can include physical therapy and injection therapy to relieve inflammation and pressure on the tarsal tunnel and nerves.
If you have shooting pain, tingling or numbness stemming from your inner ankle, you may have tarsal tunnel syndrome. Contact us at Medici Spine & Pain to schedule an appointment for an accurate diagnosis and possible treatment at one of our clinics in the Atlanta area.