The tarsal tunnel is the name given to an area of the foot that lies between part of your ankle bone and a group of ligaments and tendons, forming a tunnel of sorts. This tunnel carries the nerves, arteries, blood vessels, etc., that give your feet their function. One of these nerves that is called the tibial nerve is responsible for giving you feeling on the bottom of your foot. When this nerve is injured and inflamed from injury, pressure, and stress, the painful and debilitating condition called tarsal tunnel syndrome is the result.

Some causes and symptoms include: 

  • A varicose vein or bone spur can irritate the nerve

  • Swelling from an ankle injury can impinge the tibial nerve

  • Arthritis and diabetes complications can adversely affect the nerve

  • People who have untreated flat feet are more susceptible

  • Shooting pain, numbness, tingling, and burning will be evident

Other foot conditions like neuromas can cause similar symptoms to tarsal tunnel syndrome, so always see your foot doctor for proper identification. A physical exam will often be followed by imaging studies and nerve conduction tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Conservative treatment options include:

  • Corticosteroid injections

  • Ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation

  • Custom orthotic inserts to direct pressure away from the nerve

Surgically releasing the pressure on the nerve may be required in severe cases.

If you are having tarsal tunnel trouble, see your podiatrist for the proper diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX 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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