Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is when the main
nerve that goes to the foot gets squeezed. You may be familiar with
a similar condition in the wrist, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Tarsal tunnel
syndrome is the result of swelling and scarring on the back of the
ankle, sometimes aggravated by the shape or deformity of the foot.
The symptoms include tingling, burning, numbness and vague aching
and pain on the inside of the ankle radiating down to the arch of
The diagnosis of this condition is made by specific palpation over
the nerve that is very uncomfortable and sensitive. Frequently, a
Nerve Conduction Test, which measures the electrical conduction of
the nerve over the ankle, is performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome includes rest, physical therapy
treatments and medication. Rest entails immobilization of the ankle
in a brace, boot or a cast. In certain conditions aggravated by an
excessive flat foot or pronation of the foot, an orthotic arch support
is helpful. Sedative medications that decrease the electrical activity
of the nerve are frequently prescribed.
If these treatments do not relieve symptoms, surgery (Tarsal Tunnel
Release) may be performed. An incision is made behind the ankle and
a ligament that compresses the nerve is released. This decreases the
pressure on the nerve by the overlying ligament. Following surgery
a removable boot is worn for approximately four weeks. Physical therapy
will decrease the swelling and scarring over the nerve.