Warning Signs of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Warning Signs of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Foot and ankle pain can come in a variety of forms from quick and sharp after an accident to dull discomfort resulting from arthritis or the slow development of an overuse injury. It can also appear as burning tingling nerve pain in individuals suffering from tarsal tunnel syndrome.

At Yavapai Foot and Ankle Center in Prescott, Arizona, Dr. Todd Cox provides friendly personalized care for all your foot and ankle needs. Whether you're suffering from an injury or a chronic health condition, we offer convenient on-site diagnostic capabilities for immediate results.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome

The tarsal tunnel is found inside the ankle and is created by the ankle bones and a collection of ligaments that stretch across the foot. Blood vessels along with nerves and tendons move through this area to give the foot mobility and flexibility. Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when the posterior tibial nerve is compressed as it travels through this area. It is often referred to as posterior tibial neuralgia.


Tarsal tunnel syndrome can have a number of warning signs. Symptoms often include sharp shooting nerve pains in the inside of the ankle or bottom of the foot as well as burning, tingling or electric shock-like sensations. Numbness or weakness in the foot muscles may also occur. Typically, discomfort is worse after physical activity. However, if tarsal tunnel syndrome progresses, symptoms may become present all the time.

Risk factors

Damage to the tibial nerve and resulting tarsal tunnel syndrome may occur for a number of reasons such as having flat feet or high arches. It can also result from overuse and fairly frequently occurs in people with a history of an ankle sprain or fracture. Irregular growths, masses, and chronic conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism, and arthritis can cause it as well.

Diagnosis and treatment

A diagnosis of tarsal tunnel syndrome is typically made following a medical history and examination that may include one or more diagnostic tests. A Tinel's test will likely be performed during which your doctor lightly taps the tibial nerve to see if pain or tingling occurs. An electromyogram may also be done to measure nerve and muscle function.

Treatment frequently involves resting, using ice, elevating the foot, and wearing a compression brace or bandage. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can also help with pain and inflammation. If these conservative treatments do not resolve the issue, additional recommendations could include custom orthotics or steroid injections. In severe cases, surgery might be needed.

If you're suffering from nerve pain in your foot or ankle, call our office at 928-445-4898 or click here to book an appointment today. We can make a proper diagnosis and devise a customized treatment plan for your recovery.

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