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Nerve Compression in the Ankle May Cause Pain, Burning, and Numbness

Tuesday, 23 August 2022 00:00

There is a narrow passageway called the tarsal tunnel, which is located on the inside of the ankle. The tibial nerve, starting at the back of the leg, runs down through the tarsal tunnel, along with veins, arteries, and tendons. Because so many structures pass through the tarsal tunnel, the interior space is very confined. This space becomes even more constricted if an ankle injury occurs that causes inflammation or a swollen vein or tendon, or if a cyst develops within the tunnel. This can cause the tibial tendon to become squeezed, or compressed, and result in pain, burning, tingling, or numbness along the nerve’s path. This condition is known as tarsal tunnel syndrome. Flat feet, and inflammation due to arthritis and diabetes may also contribute to this condition developing. It is important to have tarsal tunnel syndrome diagnosed and treated as early as possible, not only to relieve pain and inflammation, but to avoid permanent nerve damage. A podiatrist can assess your condition and devise an appropriate treatment plan to get you on the road to recovery as soon as possible.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact the podiatrists of The Foot & Ankle Centre of New Jersey. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can also be called tibial nerve dysfunction, is an uncommon condition of misfiring peripheral nerves in the foot. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the tibial nerve is damaged, causing problems with movement and feeling in the foot of the affected leg.

Common Cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Involves pressure or an injury, direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or near the knee.
  • Diseases that damage nerves, including diabetes, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.
  • At times, tarsal tunnel syndrome can appear without an obvious cause in some cases.

The Effects of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Different sensations, an afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg.
  • The foot muscles, toes and ankle become weaker, and curling your toes or flexing your foot can become difficult.
  • If condition worsens, infections and ulcers may develop on the foot that is experiencing the syndrome.

A physical exam of the leg can help identify the presence of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Medical tests, such as a nerve biopsy, are also used to diagnose the condition. Patients may receive physical therapy and prescriptive medication. In extreme cases, some may require surgery.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Paramus, NJ . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about Treating Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
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