Diagnosis of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which involves the compression of the posterior tibial nerve as it passes through the tarsal tunnel on the inner side of the ankle, can be tricky to diagnose. Diagnosis typically begins with a physical examination where a podiatrist, or foot doctor, evaluates the foot for signs of nerve compression. The podiatrist may use specific tests that could provoke symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis and eliminate other potential conditions, magnetic resonance Imaging, or an MRI scan is commonly used. An MRI can provide clear images of the soft tissues surrounding the ankle, helping to identify any abnormalities like tumors, varicose veins, or structural deformities compressing the nerve. The treatment strategy may vary depending on MRI findings. For example, if the MRI reveals a structural anomaly compressing the nerve, surgical intervention may be required to alleviate the pressure. However, if inflammation is mild and no significant anatomical issues are detected, more conservative treatments like corticosteroid injections or custom orthotics might be effective. For proper diagnosis of tarsal tunnel syndrome and the most effective treatment plan, it is suggested that you consult a podiatrist. 

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact one of our podiatrists of Foot and Ankle Clinics, PA. 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 offices located in Woodbury, West St. Paul, and Edina, MN . 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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