Getting stuck on a deserted island would not be fun—especially if you were stuck with Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. The nagging numbness, tingling, and pain in your inflamed nerves is sometimes only a condition that can be treated with a podiatrist’s help. Luckily, you’re not alone. The McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group is here!
Tarsal Tunnel is No Fun
On the inside of your ankle, there’s a space below the bone called the tarsal tunnel. This tunnel is where the posterior tibial nerve and other arteries and tendons flow through. When the tibial nerve is compressed, it’s known as tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Shooting pains, burning, and tingling are the symptoms that can keep you from doing much of anything. Sometimes, it can stretch into the arch of the foot, heel, toes, and sole. Don’t try standing for long periods of time—it aggravates the swollen and tender area. Oh, and sleeping? That’s not going to happen. The symptoms are usually the worst when you run or try to get some shut eye.
Swelling is the Cause
Anything that causes the ankle to swell can create this problem, whether it’s temporary or permanent. If you’re a runner or play a lot of sports that involve running, the condition can come on suddenly. When that’s the case, the nerve entrapment is most likely due to overpronation. When your foot rolls inward too far, it puts too much pressure on the nerve.
The syndrome also gives credit to flat feet and fallen arches as reasons to why it develops, since both of these deformities cause overpronation as well.
You may have picked up this condition because of an ankle sprain. When the area swells, it can press on the nerve and pinch it, creating the painful symptoms. If you have arthritis or diabetes, the constant swelling can also make this problem pop up. Bone spurs, cysts, varicose veins, and swollen tendons are some more reasons why you may develop tarsal tunnel syndrome.
You’re Not Alone: Treat Your Bundle of Nerves
The best thing to do is rest the nerves while they’re inflamed and causing you extreme pain. Try an ice pack on the area to reduce pain and further swelling. We may also recommend that you consider anti-inflammatory pain relievers to aid in reduction of inflammation and discomfort.
A simple calf stretch will help keep the area flexible. Stand facing a wall with your hands against it. Place one foot behind you, keeping it straight with the heel on the ground, and lean into the wall. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat three to four times.
If you have pain in the arch, try a plantar fascia stretch. Pull your toes and forefoot toward you and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat five times.
Conservative treatments, including steroid injections and a custom-made pair of orthotics, will always be considered before trying surgery. However, if the pain is increasingly worse, we can perform peripheral nerve decompression surgery to get rid of your problems for good.
If you have tarsal tunnel syndrome and pain that won’t leave you alone, we can get rid of it for you. To make an appointment, call McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group at (916) 961-3434. You can also find us on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter!
Photo Credit: Renjith Krishnan