Treatment Options for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs in the tunnel of the inside of our ankles. This condition develops when the tibial nerve is compressed, resulting in severe ankle pain. There are multiple reasons why one might develop tarsal tunnel syndrome. Most frequently, it is caused by low arches, ankle sprains, or age-related conditions. 

Patients with tarsal tunnel syndrome may experience a range of symptoms. Some symptoms may include pain, tingling sensations, numbness, or limited range of motion in the ankle or foot. This condition can result in a diminished capacity to perform basic tasks at home and work, and can greatly affect one’s ability to participate in sports and leisure activities. 

Fortunately, individuals with a diagnosis for tarsal tunnel syndrome have a few treatment options, both conservative and surgical. Typically, healthcare professionals will encourage patients to try noninvasive treatment options first, and if these are ineffective, surgery may be necessary. There are four primary treatment routes for patients suffering from the discomfort of tarsal tunnel syndrome. If you are an individual who has been diagnosed with this condition, or if you think you might have it, consider these treatment options and see how BEST Health System’s team of medical professionals can guide you on your path to recovery. 

What are Treatment Options for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

A foot brace

Foot injuries caused by a sprain or high/low arches can greatly benefit from the use of a foot brace to stabilize the ankle. A foot brace is effective because it allows patients to maintain basic mobility while reducing the motion in the ankle itself. If the patient is still experiencing pain while using the brace, there are options for them to get crutches to assist their walking and eliminate any stress put on the affected foot. Although foot and ankle braces can be purchased over the counter, it is recommended that individuals who suspect they have tarsal tunnel syndrome or those who have been diagnosed should meet with a medical professional to find the best brace. Many patients will get fitted for a custom brace, which is often more effective. 

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, a doctor may recommend a corticosteroid injection. These injections can help relieve pain and target a specific area of the body, as opposed to oral medicines. Anti-inflammatory injections are also beneficial for patients undergoing physical therapy because they can allow them to perform exercises that may have otherwise been too painful. 

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a great option for patients who want to build back strength and mobility. For individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome, this form of therapy involves a combination of therapeutic exercise and stretches, as well as hands-on techniques such as massage or soft tissue mobilization. In addition to treating tarsal tunnel syndrome, physical therapy can educate patients on how to prevent this condition from returning by teaching proper mechanics. 

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Surgery

If other treatment options have been ineffective, tarsal tunnel surgery is available. After a thorough evaluation, surgeons may recommend a procedure such as tarsal tunnel syndrome 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. 

What are your next steps?

If you have been diagnosed with tarsal tunnel syndrome, or if you suspect you may have it, it is important to see a medical professional. BEST Health System’s experienced specialists aim to find you the best treatment, with the most conservative approach. If you are interested in learning more about our services, contact us and begin your path to recovery today!