Chances are good you’ve heard of carpal tunnel syndrome which is a pinched nerve in the wrist that causes tingling and numbness in the hand. What you might not know is that the same thing can happen to your feet! This is known as tarsal tunnel syndrome, and it can produce shooting, burning, or shocking pain throughout the ankle, heels, and feet.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome results from pressure or pinching on the posterior tibial nerve as it passes through the tarsal tunnel on the inside of the ankle. Sandwiched between ankle bones and thick ligaments, the tunnel doesn’t offer much room for the nerve, arteries, veins, and other structures that must pass through.
When the space becomes too tight and the nerve is physically pinched or obstructed, symptoms such as pain, tingling, or even complete numbness may emerge.
Anything that can inflict pressure, pinching, or obstruction on the nerve through the tarsal tunnel could be a cause of this condition. There are several possibilities, including:
Because tarsal tunnel syndrome can result from such a wide variety of different causes, the proper treatment protocols will depend heavily on what our examination reveals. Treatment options we may employ include some combination of the following:
When treatment is sought early, the painful symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome typically resolve with no long-term consequences. However, if you allow the condition to progress, the resulting nerve damage may become permanent. Unfortunately, tarsal tunnel syndrome is sometimes misdiagnosed as plantar fasciitis or other common conditions with similar symptoms, especially by doctors less familiar with nerve conditions of the feet and ankles.
If you notice any tingling or pain in the feet or ankles—especially of the burning, shooting, or shocking variety—please contact Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC, right away for an evaluation. We have three convenient locations to serve you.