What Causes Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a progressive and often painful disorder that affects the heel, arch, toe and calf. The tarsal tunnel is a hollow passageway located inside your ankle that can compress the tibial nerve that runs along the back of your leg, causing discomfort. Tarsal tunnel syndrome can make simple activities like standing and walking difficult, and as the condition progresses, you may even feel pain when resting. If left untreated, tarsal tunnel syndrome can result in permanent nerve damage.

What Causes Tarsal Tunnel SyndromeEveryone who suffers from tarsal tunnel syndrome experiences the condition differently. You may feel a painful burning sensation along the entire length of your leg, or you may feel localized numbness and tingling. The experts at Southwest Foot & Ankle Center offer world-class diagnostic services for patients who are at risk of developing tarsal tunnel syndrome.

The Inner Workings of Your Feet

People with flat feet are at the highest risk of developing tarsal tunnel syndrome within their lifetime. Flattened arches stretch the tibial nerve over time, causing damage through stress. The presence of varicose veins, bone spurs and non-cancerous cell masses such as lipomas and fibromas within the ankle also increases the risk of developing tarsal tunnel syndrome. If these abnormal structures are present in the tarsal tunnel, they can compress the tibial nerve and cause pain.

Injury, Disease and Trauma

Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and other conditions that cause swelling can force the tarsal tunnel to exert pressure on the tibial nerve, eventually leading to tarsal tunnel syndrome. Anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections may be able to reduce local swelling and relieve some of the stress placed on the nerve.

Ankle injuries and other trauma can also cause tarsal tunnel syndrome in otherwise healthy adults. Localized swelling and a buildup of scar tissue can restrict movement in the tarsal tunnel and end up pinching the tibial nerve. Running, jogging and other activities that put repetitive stress on the ankle can also increase your risk of developing painful symptoms.

To learn more about tarsal tunnel syndrome and treatment options, call our Plano center at 972-805-9985, our Lewisville location at 972-318-2738 or our Irving clinic at 972-318-2655 to book an appointment.