Active FootCare Services
Tarsal Tunnel is a narrow space that lies on the inside of the ankle next to the ankle bones. The tunnel is covered with a thick ligament (the flexor retinaculum) that protects and maintains the structures contained within the tunnel—arteries, veins, tendons, and nerves. One of these structures is the posterior tibial nerve, which is the focus of tarsal tunnel syndrome.
What is The Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a compression, or squeezing, on the posterior tibial nerve that produces symptoms anywhere along the path of the nerve running from the inside of the ankle into the foot. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs in the wrist. Both disorders arise from the compression of a nerve in a confined space.
Tarsal Tunnel Case Symptoms
Patients with tarsal tunnel syndrome experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Symptoms are typically felt on the inside of the ankle and/or on the bottom of the foot. In some people, a symptom may be isolated and occur in just one spot. In others, it may extend to the heel, arch, toes, and even the calf.
Sometimes the symptoms of the syndrome appear suddenly. Often they are brought on or aggravated by overuse of the foot, such as in prolonged standing, walking, exercising, or beginning a new exercise program.
It is very important to seek early treatment if any of the symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome occur. If left untreated, the condition progresses and may result in permanent nerve damage. In addition, because the symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome can be confused with other conditions, proper evaluation is essential so that a correct diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatment initiated.
Ozan Amir will examine the foot to arrive at a diagnosis and determine if there is any loss of feeling. During this examination, Ozan will position the foot and tap on the nerve to see if the symptoms can be reproduced. He will also press on the area to help determine if a small mass is present.
Advanced imaging studies may be ordered if a mass is suspected or if initial treatment does not reduce the symptoms. Studies used to evaluate nerve problems—electromyography and nerve conduction velocity (EMG/NCV)—may be ordered if the condition shows no improvement with non-surgical treatment.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by anything that produces compression on the posterior tibial nerve, such as:
After evaluating the patient’s symptoms, Ozan Amir will examine the foot. In addition, x-rays will be ordered to help the surgeon evaluate the structure of the heel bone.
Tarsal Tunnel Case Surgical Treatment
A variety of treatment options, often used in combination, are available to treat tarsal tunnel syndrome. These include:
When is Surgery Needed?
If non-surgical treatment fails to provide adequate pain relief, surgery may be needed. Ozan will determine the procedure that is best suited to your case. If non-surgical treatment fails to provide adequate pain relief, surgery may be needed. Ozan will determine the procedure that is best suited to your case.