Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by anything that produces compression on the posterior tibial nerve, which is the nerve that provides sensation to the bottom of the foot. Having flat feet or severe swelling from an ankle injury can create this compression.
Diagnosis is necessary to determine the severity of the condition, so the appropriate treatment plan can be administered. Proper diagnosis of tarsal tunnel syndrome requires the expert attention of experienced neurologists and nerve specialists.
Diagnosis will typically include:
- A comprehensive clinical exam
- Complete medical history
- Electrical testing
- Imaging (X-rays, CT, or MRI scans)
In less severe cases, non-surgical treatment is recommended by using steroid injections or anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pressure and swelling. Braces, splints, and other orthotic devices can be used to limit movement and reduce pressure on the foot that can cause compression to the tibial nerve. In more severe cases, a surgical procedure called a tarsal tunnel release may be performed to decrease pressure on the nerve from the overlying ligament.