Understanding Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

The tibial nerve is a branch of your sciatic nerve and is found near your ankle. It runs through the tarsal tunnel, which is a narrow passageway inside your ankle. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused when there is repeated pressure on the posterior tibial nerve.

Symptoms of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Symptoms of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

It can cause pain along the tibial nerve as well as around the ankle. It could manifest as:-

  • Sharp pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Burning

Symptoms may progress gradually or begin suddenly.

Causes of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Compression of the tibial nerve
  • Very severe flat feet
  • Bony growths in the tarsal tunnel
  • Varicose veins
  • Arthritis
  • Lesions
  • Tumors or lipomas near the tibial nerve
  • Injury around ankle
  • Diabetes


  • Physical examination of the ankle and foot.
  • Medical history of previous injuries or trauma to the ankle.
  • Blood tests (to check for underlying illnesses)
  • Tinels’ test (involves gentle tapping of the tibial nerve. A tingling sensation or pain could indicate tarsal tunnel syndrome)
  • Electromyography (To detect nerve dysfunction)
  • MRI (to detect tumour or bony growth)


  • Anti-pain and anti-inflammatory medications
  • RICE treatment
  • Steroid injections to reduce swelling
  • Immobilizing foot to limit movement that could compress the nerve
  • Custom orthotic shoes to support the arches of the feet.
  • Surgery

Types of surgery

Tarsal Tunnel Release

This procedure involves an incision from behind your ankle down to the arch of your foot. The surgeon does this to release the ligament, relieving the pressure on your tibial nerve.

Also Read: Emergency At-Home Treatment For Sprains And Strains

Minimally Invasive Surgery

During this procedure, smaller incisions are made inside your ankle with tiny instruments to stretch out the ligament. Since this is a minimally invasive surgery, the risk of complications and recovery time are both reduced.

It is important to consult with a podiatrist if you have foot problems like tarsal tunnel syndrome, toe nail problems, ankle problems or any other kind of foot problems. 



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