Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrists, tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can cause severe ankle pain for those affected. The tarsal tunnels are located on the inside of the ankles and allow blood vessels and nerves to travel down the leg and into the foot.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when an injury or other condition causes compression of the tibial nerve. There are a range of underlying causes for tarsal tunnel syndrome, but the most frequent cause includes inflammation from ankle sprains and age-related conditions such as arthritis. Another key contributor is biomechanical issues such as low arches, also known as flat feet, that can stretch and irritate the tibial.
To help you find the relief you deserve from tarsal tunnel syndrome, we’re sharing the following helpful guide to treatment. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, contact a member of our caring team today.
- Foot Brace
Whether tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by an injury such as a sprain or an issue such as high or low arches, many doctors recommend using a foot brace to stabilize the ankle. This can allow patients to maintain basic mobility while reducing excessive motion in the tarsal tunnel that causes tibial nerve compression. Although foot braces can be purchased over the counter at retail outlets, many patients also get fitted for a custom brace by a podiatrist or other specialist.
- Anti-inflammatory injections
If basic treatments such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and an ice pack aren’t able to reduce inflammation enough to relieve tarsal tunnel syndrome, your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid injection. This can help relieve symptoms on an intermediate basis while the overall progress of the injury is monitored. Pain-relieving anti-inflammatory steroid injections also help patients complete physical therapy programs that may have otherwise been too painful to undergo.
- Physical Therapy
Working with a physical therapist to strengthen and stabilize the ankle while improving the range of motion is an essential step in the healing process for many people. Physical therapy for tarsal tunnel syndrome usually involves a combination of therapeutic exercise and stretches as well as hands-on techniques such as massage or soft tissue mobilizations that relieve tibial nerve compression. Physical therapy can also help patients learn proper mechanics, which is a critical aspect of ankle health that can also help limit re-injury of the ankle.
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery
If conservative therapies have been exhausted without bringing the relief necessary for a good quality of life, tarsal tunnel syndrome surgery can become a serious consideration. After a thorough evaluation, surgeons may recommend a procedure such as tarsal tunnel release, which involves performing a careful and precise cut on soft tissue in the ankle to remove pressure on the tibial nerve. Often tarsal tunnel syndrome surgery involves minimally invasive techniques that allow for an outpatient procedure.
BEST provides access to state-of-the-art minimally invasive orthopaedic spine treatment and surgery professionals. BEST prides itself on its five-star outpatient facility, an ideal alternative to hospital-based outpatient procedures. At BEST, patients can utilize spine and orthopaedic treatment, conservative therapy, imaging & diagnostics, pain management, or surgical procedures. BEST is here to help.