Foot pain can come in many different forms. However, it’s important to recognize when you’re having just a simple bout of discomfort and when it’s something a lot more serious. If you start to suffer any kind of tingling, burning, numbing or shooting pain near the ankle or bottom of your foot…you might have something called tarsal tunnel syndrome.
You may hear that and think it sounds a lot like carpal tunnel syndrome. Not only are you correct about that, but they are also very similar – one obviously occurring in the wrist/hand and the other in the ankle/foot. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused when a nerve in your foot (the tibial nerve) is squished as it travels through the tarsal tunnel. This tunnel runs along a very condensed area within the ankle.
You can cause tarsal tunnel syndrome in a variety of ways. If you suffer an ankle sprain, the swelling can develop near the ankle, causing it to take place in your foot. People with flat feet, arthritis or diabetes can develop tarsal tunnel syndrome due to swelling in the feet. Varicose veins, cysts and bone spurs can also trigger the condition.
While you can feel the pain in your foot, it may be difficult to actually pinpoint where it’s originating. However, it may hurt someone bad enough where it causes a limp in their walk.
Like a lot of foot conditions, tarsal tunnel syndrome can be treated short tern with rest, ice, medication, physical therapy, shoes and braces. If you have it, its best not to do any walking or standing for an extended period of time.
However, there are also times in which additional medical attention is necessary.
Contributed by Dr. Kushal Nag, M.B.B.S., M.S. (Ortho)