Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is to the foot and ankle as what carpal tunnel syndrome is to the wrist and hand. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the posterior tibial nerve (running along the ankle and foot) becomes compressed or damaged, causing inflammation of the tarsal tunnel. This condition results from prolonged walking, running, standing or exercising, traumatic injury, or no apparent reason.
Often Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome responds well to conservative treatment. With the goal of treatment being to reduce inflammation and pain, rest, ice, compression and elevation are often recommended along with the use of over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (acetaminophen or ibuprofen). If this is not effective, injection therapy using corticosteroids and local anesthetics can be tried. Orthopedic devices and corrective shoes may assist in reducing foot pressure. Exercises learned in physical therapy can help reduce symptoms by stretching and strengthening connective tissues and mobilizing the tibial nerve and opening surrounding joint space reducing compression.
Surgery can be performed for severe or chronic cases that do not respond to any other forms of treatment. The procedure releases (or decompresses) the tarsal tunnel with a recovery period of 6 weeks up to several months. Surgery is successful in about 50%-90% of cases.
Fortunately, tarsal tunnel syndrome is a rare disorder.Back to Blog