What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

Achilles tendon by hands, suffering with pain in red spot area Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Yes, that sounds like something you may vaguely remember to have binged on Netflix or the Sci Fi Channel while filling the endless nights of this pandemic. But it’s not.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that has much in common with the far better-known carpal tunnel syndrome. But instead of the wrists, tarsal tunnel syndrome affects the tunnel in the inside bottom of the ankle that runs through the bottom of the foot. This tunnel carries a series of nerves, an artery, and tendons. Inflammation in this area causes the nerves to compress, similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, leading to pain.

At our five Foot & Ankle Clinics of Utah locations we help patients deal with the pain of this foot condition.

Causes

Unlike carpal tunnel syndrome, which is usually triggered by repetitive motions in the wrists and fingers, the cause of the inflammation that leads to tarsal tunnel syndrome is unknown. Inflammation can be caused by other medical problems such as varicose veins, diabetes, or tumors, but the main sources are still unknown.

Symptoms

A person could have tarsal tunnel syndrome if he or she experiences a burning or tingling sensation in the sole of the foot. Activity usually increases the symptoms. There also may be numbness and weakness in the bottom of the foot.

Diagnosis

When diagnosing tarsal tunnel syndrome, your Foot & Ankle Clinics of Utah podiatrist conducts a thorough physical exam, giving special attention your reactions to various stimuli applied to the sole of the foot. A nerve conduction velocity test could be ordered to see the speed at which nerve impulses travel through the foot, across the ankle, and into the leg.

Treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome

Treatment for this condition can range from non-invasive to surgical. Anti-inflammatory medications are the first resort, with the goal of alleviating pressure surrounding the nerve. If this doesn’t alleviate the pressure, tarsal tunnel release surgery is the next step.

Give us a call at any of our five locations in American Fork (801), 763-3885; Payson, (801) 765-1718; Springville (801) 491-3668; and Orem (two locations), (801) 226-2421 or (801) 765-1718.

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