Shooting Foot Pain – Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel is similar to carpal tunnel where a nerve is compressed producing sharp shooting pain. Tarsal Tunnel refers to a canal on the inside of the ankles. This canal allows tendons, nerves, arteries and veins to course along the ankle and into the foot. A sheath covers this canal to hold the structures in place. When this canal becomes compressed it pinches the tibial nerve in the canal causing a shooting pain.

Tarsal tunnel can be caused by:

  • Flat feet or “fallen arches” can compress the tibial nerve

  • Trauma or previous ankle injury causing swelling placing pressure on the nerve

  • Abnormal structures such as ganglion cyst, varicose veins, inflamed tendon, bone spur

  • Systemic diseases: arthritis, diabetes

Symptoms include tingling, numbness or shooting pain in the feet. Our doctors at Foot& Ankle Doctors, Inc will tap along the course of the tibial nerve, if symptoms are reproduced while performing this test it is an indication for tarsal tunnel. It is important to exclude the possibility of a pinched nerve in the lower back that can produce similar symptoms.

Treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome starts with conservative options to reduce inflammation, pressure and or limit motion to the tarsal tunnel:

  • Rest

  • Ice

  • Oral medication

  • Immobilization/bracing

  • Steroid injection

  • Physical therapy

  • Orthotics

In cases where conservative treatments fail, surgery may be required in which case a tarsal tunnel release will be performed.

Come see us at Foot& Ankle Doctors, Inc for more information

Dr. Dardashti