Dr. Singleton offers tips and advice on treating Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
By Dr. Ed Singleton
Tarsal tunnel syndrome demonstrates varying symptoms. These may be burning pain, tingling, numbness, sharp shooting pains affecting the sole of the foot and occasionally shooting up behind the lower leg.
These symptoms must be differentiated from other issues such as plantar fasciitis or even back related issues. Plantar fasciitis is classically described as pain in the arch or heel that is severe when you first start weight bearing and may ease up after a bit.
This may be associated with tight leg muscles, weight gain or mechanical imbalances of the foot and/or leg, whereas tarsal tunnel pain usually gets worse as the day goes on. It may even wake you up at night or from a deep sleep.
What causes Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
Causes are many, but the end result is pressure on the large nerve behind the inside of the ankle. This pressure builds until the nerve starts to have a malfunction resulting in the above listed symptoms and sometimes others as well.
How is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome treated?
Treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome may range to splinting, casting, NSAIDs, orthoses (custom, inshoe inlays), and surgical decompression of the nerve.
The surgery is traditionally done with an incision that starts behind the ankle, extending to the arch of the foot. At Texas Foot and Ankle we can usually perform this procedure through an incision about a half-inch long.
We use an endoscope inserted through this small incision to visualize and release the structure that is most often the cause of the tightness around the nerve.
This results in what is normally a faster recovery with less pain and earlier return to normal function when compared to the traditional approach with the long incision.