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Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

What is the Tarsal Tunnel?

The tarsal tunnel is an area of the foot located just behind of the inside (medial) ankle bone. It is an area that is particularly important.

There are a number of arteries, veins, tendons, and nerves that run their course through it that are responsible for innervating the bottom of the foot.

One nerve in particular is the posterior tibial nerve.

The posterior tibial nerve runs through the tarsal tunnel and then continues on to the bottom of the foot.  The nerve then splits into branches of nerves that are responsible for providing sensation and movement from the bottom of the foot right up to the toes.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome or TTS is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome that is seen in the wrist.

TSS is a condition that is attributed to unnatural compression of a nerve and can create a neuropathy of the nerve.  The tarsal tunnel is found behind the medial mallelous or the inside of the ankle bone.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes painful, burning, or numb sensations throughout the inside aspect and bottom of the foot.

What can aggravate the tarsal tunnel syndrome?

Often the TSS will be exacerbated with increased activity and settled with rest. In some circumstances, TSS may be worse at night, or when the foot is resting.

Because the area of the tarsal tunnel is so busy, there are many structures that can cause impingement of the nerve and can interrupt the proper nerve signal. One common cause is excessive pronation, or feet that have a tendency to roll in.

The alignment of the bones can cause pressure against the nerve, altering the signal. An injury to the area can have a similar effect.

A cystic or tumour growth in the area, varicose veins, muscle and tissue tightness, or inflammation of a tendon in the area can also be the cause.

Treatment of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.

The treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome will depend on the cause and this is why it is important to see your Brisbane podiatrist.

Orthotics are a great way to realign the foot and prevent any excessive rolling in.

Anti-inflammatories, rest, and ice may be helpful treatments if the sensation is due to an inflamed structure.

Surgery is reserved for causes that create a physical compression of the nerve, such as cyst growths.