3 Risk Factors & 3 Treatments for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome causes tingling, burning, and possibly a shooting pain sensation in the foot and ankle. It is similar to the more familiar carpal tunnel syndrome that affects the wrist. Both syndromes are caused by nerve compression in a hollow area that provides a raceway for nerves, tendons, blood vessels, etc.  In the case of your foot, the posterior tibial nerve that runs through the tarsal tunnel can be stressed and compressed by a variety of factors.

3 risk factors for developing tarsal tunnel syndrome include the following:

  1. Having flat feet—The excess stress put on the ankles by having untreated flat feet can contribute to tarsal tunnel trouble.
  2. Systemic diseases— including arthritis, diabetes, and peripheral artery disease can contribute to swelling and stiffness that increase pressure on the posterior tibial nerve.
  3. Injury to the foot—Injuries, like stubbing your toe or spraining your ankle, can cause swelling and damage to the tarsal tunnel area leading to the syndrome.

3 non-invasive treatments for tarsal tunnel syndrome include:

  1. Properly fitted footwear—Shoes that have proper support and a wide toe box for your toes to move can help relieve nerve compression.
  2. RICE method (resting, icing, compression, elevation)—Resting, elevating, and icing the affected foot while lying down will relieve pressure on the posterior tibial nerve. Wrapping the ankle with a compression bandage may also help.
  3. Custom orthotic shoe inserts—Specially made and placed orthotics that fit your precise foot shape will relieve pronation problems and decrease the pressure and movement that causes tarsal tunnel.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can mimic other foot conditions, so see your foot care specialist for the proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Call Syracuse Podiatry located in East Syracuse, New York. Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico, Dr. Kathleen Pyatak-Hugar, and Dr. Donal M. Erickson and their staff will help you diagnose and treat your foot or ankle condition. Call 315-446-3668 or make an appointment online today.

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