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Let’s Talk Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Okay, so it’s not a typical topic you might discuss around the water cooler, but tarsal tunnel syndrome is certainly worth talking about, especially if you are experiencing tingling, burning, numbness, and pain in your feet. While these symptoms are often associated with the nerve damage of neuropathy, there may be something else behind the strange sensations.


There is a nerve that travels down the inside of your ankle and into your foot. It’s called the posterior tibial nerve and it’s protected by – you guessed it — the tarsal tunnel. Usually, the tunnel allows the nerve plenty of room to do its thing (helping your foot have normal feeling), however, with tarsal tunnel syndrome, something occurs to narrow the tunnel and squeeze or pinch the nerve resulting in the symptoms above. What exactly the something is that’s causing the narrowing of the tunnel varies. It could be the result of having flat feet which over pronate and puts pressure on that side of your foot. It may be swelling from the inside due to an injury like a sprain, or a condition like diabetes or arthritis. Still another cause could be an internal growth such as a cyst. The only way to truly know is to come in for a foot exam so we can determine the guilty culprit behind your pinched nerve, and thus the appropriate course of treatment.

In most cases, conservative measures are all it takes to ease the discomfort of a compressed nerve in your ankle. These may include anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling, or physical therapy exercises. In addition, orthotics are often used to correct flat feet and remove pressure from the area. If these methods do not provide relief, surgery to release the tarsal tunnel may need to be considered. Surgery may also be necessary if a growth is to blame for your troubles.

That’s a lot of information you can share around the water cooler, but first, if you are experiencing tingling, burning, and numbness in your feet, call to schedule an appointment with us by dialing (812) 333-4422 to reach our Bloomington, IN office. We’ll get you and your feet back to feeling normal again in no time!

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