Some Causes of & Treatments for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Your tarsal tunnel is a hollow channel that exists between the part of your ankle bone and a group of ligaments spanning the length of your foot. This tunnel allows passage for the nerves, tendons, and arteries that enable you to move your foot. One of the large nerves inside the tarsal tunnel is the tibial nerve, responsible for giving feeling to the bottom of your foot. This nerve can become stressed and damaged due to excess pressure causing the condition known as tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS).

Diseases or injuries that may produce this excess pressure include the following:

  • Flat feet or fallen arches are causing overpronation.
  • Swelling due to ankle sprain or other foot injuries
  • Arthritis and diabetes
  • Varicose veins or bone spurs

Symptoms of TTS include the following:

  • Foot numbness
  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • A shooting pain.

A diagnosis of tarsal tunnel syndrome can be complicated, and it is important to consult with your podiatrist to devise the best treatment plan. Your foot doctor will perform a complete clinical exam followed by imaging studies (X-ray, CT, or MRI).  Electrical testing such as EMG or nerve conduction evaluation may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Some non-invasive treatment options include the following:

  • Anabolic steroid injections
  • NSAIDs or acetaminophen for pain and inflammation
  • Braces, splints, and orthotic inserts to help divert pressure off the nerve.

In severe cases, TTS may not respond to conservative measures and will require a foot surgeon’s intervention to release the pressure on the nerve.

At Your Next Step, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience, to help diagnose and treat various foot and ankle problems, including sports injuries, joint pain, toe deformities, nail fungus, chronic tendon pain, and skin problems. Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich, and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the greater Philadelphia area at our offices conveniently located in Ardmore, Paoli, and Downingtown, PA. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.


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