What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?


While you may be familiar with carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a condition that affects the nerves in the wrist creating a burning and numbing sensation, there is a corresponding condition that affects the feet known as tarsal tunnel syndrome. 

The tarsal tunnel is a pocket that is located adjacent to the ankle bones on the interior side of the foot. It is encompassed by large ligaments that protect the nerves, tendons, arteries, and other sensitive tissues. The posterior tibial nerve is encased by this formation and it is the one that is most often subject to compression, leading to pain, tingling and burning sensations.

Symptoms and causes of tarsal tunnel syndrome include the following:

  • Flat feetUntreated flat feet can cause a pronation in the heel that can strain and press on the nerves.
  • Diseases—Arthritis, diabetes, and peripheral artery disease can all cause inflammation that can compress the posterior tibial nerve.
  • Ankle sprain—Ankle sprains may contribute to inflammation around the tarsal tunnel, causing nerve compression, pain, and discomfort.

Treatment for tarsal tunnel includes:

  • RICE—Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation—Applying ice to decrease inflammation and resting the foot to encourage the healing response is vital.
  • Orthotic insertsThese custom made devices can take care of any arch problems and decrease the movement that creates the nerve compression that causes tarsal tunnel syndrome.
  • The right shoes—Make sure to get properly fitted with supportive shoes that have room for orthotic devices, and that have plenty of room in the toe box to allow your toes to move properly.

If you are suffering from nerve pain in your feet, contact your podiatrist for the proper diagnosis and best treatment. At E.J. Nemet Podiatry in Twinsburg,  E.J. Nemet, DPM, treats a variety of foot and ankle conditions including sports injuriespediatric foot problems, diabetic foot complications, nerve disorders, and toenail and skin conditions. With advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Dr. Nemet provides expert and compassionate care to patients in the Twinsburg and Beachwood areas. To contact us or to schedule an appointment, please call (234) 212-9940.