tarsal tunnel syndrome

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tarsal tunnel syndrome

What is the tarsal tunnel?

The tarsal tunnel is an area behind the inner aspect of the ankle which is covered by a thick band of tissue (ligament). Under this ligament is a tunnel through which the major nerve, artery and vein to the foot run.

What is tarsal tunnel syndrome?

This is a condition where the nerve in the tarsal tunnel gets pinched or squeezed owing to pressure. This pressure may be caused by swelling, inflammation or a lesion in this confined tunnel leading to symptoms.

What causes a tarsal tunnel syndrome?

Anything which presses against the nerve can cause a tarsal tunnel syndrome. Some of the common causes are:
A ganglion in the tarsal tunnel
Sprains, fractures around the ankle joint
Extreme flat foot can stretch the nerve causing symptoms

What are the symptoms caused by this condition?

Symptoms including burning, tingling, numbness, aching and pain behind the ankle and under the arch of the foot are common.

How is this condition diagnosed?

Your consultant will examine your foot clinically and this usually makes the diagnosis clear. Nerve conduction studies will be performed and sometimes an ultrasound scan may be necessary.

What treatment options are there and is surgery an option?

Medicines which help with nerve pain may be started. Surgery for tarsal tunnel syndrome involves releasing the pressure around the nerve by freeing it up in the tunnel. Unfortunately, the results of this type of surgery are not very predictable, and only 80% of patients will experience a full recovery. Recurrence of symptoms with burning and tingling can occur, and rarely, your pain can be worse after this surgery.

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