Tarsal tunnel syndrome is characterized by pain, tingling, and burning sensations in the foot that are created from excess pressure on the posterior tibial nerve. This nerve, which supplies much of the feeling to the foot, passes through a hollow area near the ankle that serves as a pathway for blood vessels, tendons, and other tissues. Stress and pressure in the area of the tarsal tunnel can increase swelling that can pinch the nerve and cause the syndrome.

3 causes or contributing factors to the development of tarsal tunnel syndrome include the following:

1)    Overpronation—This is a gait abnormality caused by improper foot mechanics that can often be easily corrected with custom orthotic inserts. Untreated, the increased side pressure on the ankle can cause swelling near the tarsal tunnel, possibly pinching nerves in the process.

2)    Systemic diseases—Diabetes, various types of arthritis, and circulation conditions like peripheral artery disease can contribute to compression of the posterior tibial nerve.

3)    Ankle injuries—Ankle strains and sprains cause severe inflammation around the tarsal tunnel which can pinch nerves and cause pain, numbness and tingling sensations.

Treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome involves a combination of therapies including wearing properly fitted shoes, using custom orthotic shoe inserts, resting, and physical therapy exercises.

If you are experiencing pain and tingling in your feet or ankles, see your podiatrist for the proper diagnosis and best treatment. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX (county of Dallas) is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.

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