Ankle Pain & Numbness? Could Be Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome!
There’s a lot going on in that little area behind your inner ankle bone. That’s where the tarsal tunnel lies—the tough ligament sheath that protects the veins, arteries, tendons, and nerves that run down your leg and branch out to serve your foot. The important nerve in that bundle is the tibial nerve whose job is to carry neurological messages for movement and sensation to all parts of your foot.
The painful—and fortunately fairly rare–condition known as tarsal tunnel syndrome begins when the nerve is compressed as it is leaving the leg and entering the foot, possibly by an injury; as a byproduct of a medical condition such as arthritis, diabetes or varicose veins; or simply by the shape of your foot.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome pain is impossible to ignore: burning, tingling, and numbness in the sole of the foot with radiating pain that gets worse when you stand or walk, decreased sensation, and waves of pins-and-needles feelings. Your doctor should be able to diagnose your issue through examination and will probably prescribe rest—complete inactivity on that foot for a couple of days—and 20 minutes of ice every hour or so, combined with ibuprofen to help with the pain and inflammation. Some people suffering from tarsal tunnel syndrome get relief from an injection of a local anesthetic for the pain and injection of corticosteroid to reduce the inflammation.
If nothing else works, your ultimate solution may be a type of surgery called tarsal tunnel release to relieve the compression on the nerve. The surgery is generally performed on an outpatient basis and can take as little as an hour. After surgery, you’ll spend some weeks in a medical boot and will be advised to go easy on that foot for a couple of months.
If you believe you may be suffering from pain as a result of tarsal tunnel syndrome, Triad Foot & Ankle Center has four convenient locations to serve your foot and ankle care needs. Click here to request an appointment or call 336-375-6990.
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