You need tarsal tunnel syndrome treatments as soon as possible when you start feeling foot pain or have difficulty walking. Ensure you don’t have any long-term consequences by seeking tarsal tunnel treatment. Visit the nerve pain experts in New York City at Pain Management NYC. Experienced doctors there give you a tarsal tunnel syndrome test and then offer effective treatment options that may include spinal cord stimulation. Call today for a consultation.
What Is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
Pain affecting your foot and ankle may be signs of tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS), which is sometimes called posterior tibial neuralgia. The tarsal tunnel is a passageway of bones and ligaments in your ankle. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the nerve that runs through the tarsal tunnel is inflamed or damaged. The tibial nerve allows feeling and movement in the foot, and if it’s compressed, you may feel tingling, numbness or pain.
There are many possible causes of ankle pain and foot pain. Pain or numbness that doesn’t get better with self-care measures should be evaluated by reputable and highly skilled doctors. In New York City, there’s no better choice for tarsal tunnel syndrome treatments or for treatment of headache, nerve pain or back pain than Pain Management NYC.
What Are the Symptoms of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
Pain anywhere along the tibial nerve, especially on the bottom of the toes or feet or in the inner part of the ankle, may be signs of TTS.
Other symptoms you may experience include:
- A pins-and-needles sensation
- Burning feeling
- Increased sensitivity
- Weakness or atrophy of muscles that move the toes
Symptoms may start suddenly or progress gradually. They may be isolated to one spot or may extend to the heel and toes or radiate up the calf. Physical activity or prolonged standing often worsens the pain of TTS. Pain often becomes more intense during the night.
What Causes Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
Compression on the tibial nerve causes the symptoms of TTS, and anything that causes the tarsal tunnel to narrow can lead to this condition. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a similar condition that’s caused by compression of a nerve in the wrist.
Causes of tibial nerve compression or damage include:
- Swelling from injuries such as a fracture or ankle sprain
- Growths such as bone spurs or tumors near the tibial nerve
- Varicose veins
- High arches
- Flat feet
TTS is commonly caused by overuse or from repeated ankle injuries. Medical conditions such as arthritis, hypothyroidism and diabetes can cause swelling and inflammation leading to damaged nerves.
What Are the Options for Treatment for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
There are some tarsal tunnel syndrome treatments that you can try at home after seeing your doctor. He may recommend starting by resting your foot for a few days to avoid making the injury worse and help it start to heal. You’ll also be advised to avoid any activities that worsen symptoms.
Other basic treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome includes:
- Compression and elevation. Elevate your feet to reduce inflammation. Meanwhile, an elastic bandage or brace provides support.
- Ice. Apply ice packs to your foot and ankle several times a day to reduce swelling and pain.
- Over-the-counter medication. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can be effective in reducing inflammation. NSAIDs include ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.
If your foot and ankle pain doesn’t improve with these self-care measures, there are other treatments for tarsal tunnel syndrome your doctor can try, such as:
- Physical therapy. An experienced physical therapist teaches you exercises to strengthen foot muscles, improve range of motion and relieve pain.
- Braces or splints. Using a brace or splint provides support and promotes healing.
- Foot injections. Your doctor may recommend foot injections, such as a steroid injection or nerve block to relieve the pain of TTS.
- Custom made orthotic shoes. Specially made shoes allow your foot to maintain a proper arch and stop the ankle from rolling inward.
- Spinal cord stimulation or peripheral nerve stimulation prevents pain effectively and continually by masking the symptoms.
- Surgery. If your symptoms are severe and non-surgical treatment options are unsuccessful, your doctor may recommend surgery, especially if there’s a mass putting pressure on the tibial nerve.
What’s Involved in a Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Test?
To diagnose tarsal tunnel syndrome, your doctor examines your foot and ankle and asks you to describe your symptoms and whether there’s been an injury to your foot or ankle.
If they suspect tarsal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome tests may include:
- Tinel’s test. This tarsal tunnel syndrome test is done by gently tapping the tibial nerve to check for a tingling sensation or pain.
- Triple compression stress test. The ankle is placed in plantar flexion with the foot in inversion while pressure is applied to the tibial nerve. Pain or tingling from this test indicates TTS.
- MRI. An MRI is a test that’s done to take images of tissues in your body, which can help your doctor see if there’s a mass pressing on your tibial nerve.
- Nerve conduction velocity test. This test may be done to check for nerve damage.
- Electromyography. This test checks the electrical activity in muscles.
Your doctor may check if you can push your foot down, curl your toes or twist your ankle. Additional tests may be done to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms and to confirm a diagnosis of TTS.
Can Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Be Prevented?
It’s not possible to completely guarantee that you won’t get tarsal tunnel syndrome, but there are some actions you can take to reduce the risk of developing this condition, including:
- Stretching ankles and feet regularly
- Warming up before exercising
- Getting regular exercise to improve strength and flexibility of the leg muscles
- Resting between workouts to prevent injuries from overuse
- Avoiding high heels
If you do a lot of standing and walking, take breaks regularly. It’s important to wear footwear that’s supportive and fits properly. Custom orthotics provide the support you need if you have a problem such as high foot arches.
When Should I Call a Doctor for Foot Pain?
Foot pain can make an active lifestyle difficult or impossible. The symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome shouldn’t be ignored because ignoring them could lead to permanent nerve damage. Seek medical attention right away if you’re unable to put weight on your feet or if you’re experiencing swelling and pain that’s not getting better from at-home treatments.
The symptoms of TTS resemble other conditions, and an accurate diagnosis is crucial to obtaining proper treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome. Early diagnosis and treatment give you the best chance of bringing tarsal tunnel syndrome under control. Contact Pain Management NYC today to schedule an appointment.
Boleslav Kosharskyy, MD, is a top-rated, best-in-class interventional pain management doctor. He is board-certified in Anesthesiology, Interventional Pain Medicine, and Palliative Care.
Dr. Kosharskyy is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Rehabilitation Medicine at Albert Einstein Medical College. He’s also the Associate Medical Director of Pain Medicine and Director of Anesthesia for the Joint Replacement Center at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein Medical College.
He is an active member of the American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA), the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA), and the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists (NYSSA)