All about Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal tunnel syndrome also referred to postiterior tibial neuralgia is a condition associated with painful foot condition and neuropathy. It is caused by the compression of the tibial nerve during travelling through the tarsal . The tunnel is located along the inner leg in the medial malleolus.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome brings about numbness of the foot radiating up to the big toe extending to the first three toes. It is characterized by tingling, burning and electrical sensation on the base of foot and heel. Tarsal tunnel syndrome can lead to collection of fluid in foot while standing or walking making the condition worse, because the small muscles will lose nerve supply and create cramping feeling.
Causes of tarsal tunnel syndrome includes.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be caused by activities that exert pressure around the tarsal tunnel. Benign tumours, inflammation in the tendon sheath, bone spurs, nerve ganglion and swelling associated with sprained ankle, this causes tarsal tunnel syndrome as they tend to accumulate pressure in the tarsal tunnel. Flat feet that cause increased pressure around the tunnel region which can lead to compression of nerves.
Symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome include the following;
- Feeling of pain and some tingling around and in the ankles and in some cases the toes,
- Swelling of the foot,
- Tingling, painful burning and numb sensation experience I the lower legs .The pain becomes worse and spreads rapidly in case of standing for a long period, pain becomes worse during activity and ceases while resting,
- Feeling of electric shock sensations,
- Pain that radiates up the leg and downwards to the heel arch and toes,
- Feeling of cold and hot sensation in the foot,
- Feeling like there is reduced paddling in the feet,
- Pain while driving a car,
- Experiencing pain in along posterior Tibial nerve,
- Burning sensation from the foot radiating up to the knee.
Diagnosis of tarsal tunnel syndrome includes the following.
Physical examination that can be done by an expert like Podiatrist, Physician, Orthopedist, Neurologist Physiatrist, Physical therapist or Chiropractor. The experts first enquires about the history concerning the pain as the first step in assessing the tarsal tunnel syndrome.
X-ray can be done to confirm that the pain is not due to fractures in the bone.
MRI can be done to further rule out the pain caused due to nerve compressions.
Nerve conduction tests can be administered by Neurologists, it is carried out by placing electrodes along feet and leg nerves. Electrical impulses are the propagated along the electrodes to determine the intensity and speed at which they travel. The behavior of the impulses determines the presence or absence of tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Treatment of tarsal tunnel syndrome include the following:
- Having rest,
- Strengthening of tibias posterior, tibias anterior, short toe flexors and peroneus,
- Taking anesthetic injections,
- Using wrappings, hot wax baths and orthotics,
- Medication can include anti inflammatory like Anaprox Lyrica, Ultracet, Lidocaine and Neurontin,
- Tarsal tunnel surgery can be carried out to release pressure from the tarsal tunnel region. It involves an incision into the tibial nerve that end up correcting cysts or any problems in the tibial tunnel.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Relief
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome and Pain in Top of the Foot
Tarsal tunnel is a space between bones and tough fibrous tissue in a human foot. Within this space, a posterior tibial nerve passes through from the back of the leg through the inner section of the ankle to the tunnel. Due to bones of the foot and tough surrounding fibrous tissues, the tibial nerve becomes pinched by the bones in the tunnel thus sending some sensory information to the brain resulting to a condition known as tarsal tunnel syndrome. Tarsal tunnel syndrome therefore results when the tibial nerve becomes extremely compressed by the bones within the tunnel. Nerve compression is as a result of small room within the tunnel. The syndrome results to signs such as foot aching and heel numbness.
Causes of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Up to date, the causes of tarsal tunnel are not yet established. Some of the possible causes of this syndrome have been associated with inflammation of the tissues surrounding tarsal tunnel. Once the tissues become inflamed, they swell thus increasing pressure in the tarsal tunnel compressing the nerve resulting to tarsal tunnel syndrome. Sometime, the surrounding muscles around the ankle area and
near the tarsal tunnel thicken following exercises such as running. Muscles and tendons thickening insert pressure to the tibial nerve thus result to tarsal syndrome.
Some doctors have suggested that tarsal tunnel syndrome could be caused by fractures of the foot, benign tumors and bone spurs which tend to insert pressure at the tunnel and onto the nerve.
Diagnosing Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Once a doctor suspects presence of tarsal tunnel syndrome, he or she conducts some quick physical diagnosis. After analyzing patient history through monitoring patients signs and symptoms, a tunnel test is performed for further diagnosis. This test involves tapping the skin zone of irritation which is directly above the tibia nerve. Presence of quick electrical pain indicates tarsal tunnel syndrome.
For further diagnosis, a doctor may opt for nerve impulse conduction test though the ankle. This is to determine how nerve impulses flow through the ankle. Slow impulse movement indicates presence of nerve compression.
Running and Top of Foot Pain
Top of foot pain is a complication that many individuals have been complaining of especially those who participates in running. Top of the foot contains many bones, nerves and ligament thus many factors contribute to pain in this area. Athletes tying shoes too tight and over using their feet tendons as they run on hard surface contributes to tendonitis a condition that causes pain near the toes and on top of the foot. Stretching muscles of the ankle during running increases pressure on the tarsal tunnel thus compressing the tibial nerve resulting in tarsal tunnel syndrome. This contributes to extreme pain on top of the foot.
Complications of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal tunnel is associated with a number of complications. Mild repetitive nerve traction may result. This complication contributes to nerve damage every time there is nerve traction. Other complications are based on treatment. Surgery to solve this syndrome may be accompanied by excessive bleeding and the resulting wound if not properly taken care of could be infected with bacteria.
Chronic foot pain contributes to foot dysfunction. Sometime, permanent foot damage may occur especially if the condition is not immediately taken care. This may contribute to a functionless foot and ultimately affecting walking.
Common exercises for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Preventive tarsal tunnel syndrome exercises facilitates in preventing nerve compression at the tunnel. This is by ensuring that the feet are strong through some exercises. This includes toe presses. Toe presses involve pressing the toes downward and standing on them. Others include toe spreading and toe lifting by spreading the toes wide and try to lift them one at a time while your feet remain flat on the floor.
For patients with tarsal tunnel syndrome, treatment exercises are very vital. This facilitates quick recovery and healing. During practice, it is important for patients to mind about their physical condition and thus starting exercises at a slowly pace with fewer repetitions every time. Foot and ankle stretching may facilitate quick recovery from this syndrome.
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Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Relief