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What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is used to describe a condition where a major nerve to your foot – the posterior tibial nerve – is entrapped within its tunnel at the area of the ankle. This causes the entrapped nerve to exhibit pain and other neurological symptoms. This condition is analogous to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the hand.

Oftentimes, it is the local inflammation of the sheath surrounding the tendon of the foot (termed synovitis), that causes the space in the tarsal tunnel to reduce, and the posterior tibial nerve to become tethered within the tunnel. This can be associated with underlying rheumatoid disease.

In addition, pressure from certain foot postures can result in compressive neuropathy of the posterior tibial nerve.

What will I experience?

As Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome affects the Posterior Tibial Nerve, individuals who suffer from this condition may experience:

  • Burning pain
  • Tingling in the feet, pins and needles, paraesthesia in the foot and toes
  • Numbness or reduced sensation to the foot. This is because this nerve supplies a large part of our feet
  • Symptoms are made worse with bearing weight and increase in activity
  • When the foot is placed in a position where the tarsal tunnel is compressed, symptoms could be exacerbated
  • Pain can also be more intense at night
  • In chronic cases, individuals may demonstrate weakness of the foot muscles

How can we help you?

Your Podiatrist will run through a full range of musculoskeletal tests to identify and diagnose the condition and to come up with a management plan for you.

Modalities to help with foot posture, such as custom made orthotic insoles, can help to reduce compression of the nerve, and help maintain stability of the foot.