Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

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Pain at the bottom of the foot may be due to a condition known as tarsal tunnel syndrome. It occurs when a nerve called the posterior tarsal nerve is entrapped within a nerve tunnel just below the ankle bone, resulting in foot pain. Symptoms may include ankle pain and burning sensation. Fortunately, this condition may be relieved by home treatments, such as ice pack and OTC medications. There are also some healing practices for tarsal tunnel syndrome.

Symptoms and Causes of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Compression of the structures in the area of the ankle can lead to irritation of the posterior tibial nerve, causing a combination of symptoms, which make up the tarsal tunnel syndrome.

Symptoms

  • Unilateral ankle pain, with burning sensation, tingling or numbness on the sole
  • Worsening of symptoms at night
  • Pain aggravated by walking or prolonged standing, but relieved by rest, massage, or foot elevation.
  • Pain radiates along the sole of the foot and sometimes into the calf of the leg
  • Pain aggravated when the foot is flexed upward

Causes

  • Fallen arches or flat feet, which strains or compresses the tibial nerve
  • An ankle sprain, which causes swelling and compresses the nerve
  • Diseases which cause swelling and nerve compression, such as diabetes or arthritis
  • An abnormal structure that compresses the nerve, such as a ganglion cyst, varicose vein, bone spur, or swollen tendon

Watch this video to know more about the tarsal tunnel syndrome:

Home Remedies for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

1. Apply Ice Pack

Reduce pain and inflammation by applying an ice pack below the ankle for about 20 minutes. You can do this several times during the day.

2. Use Elastic Bandage

Immobilize your ankle and foot by wrapping firmly with an elastic bandage. Restriction of movement reduces the chance of further injury. For severe or recurrent ankle pain, use an ankle brace.

3. Elevate the Foot

Rest andelevate the affected foot to reduce pain and inflammation and to promote healing. However, do not stop doing usual daily activities, to maintain strength. Engage in low-impact activity after rest periods and follow-up with icing.

4. Take an Anti-inflammatory

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and rest control initial symptoms. These medications help reduce swelling and inflammation of tissues around the nerve in the ankle, thus easing nerve irritation.

5. Use Custom Inserts

Flattened foot arches may improve by using specialized or customized inserts, or orthotics placed inside the shoes. These devices help relieve foot pronation, a common condition where the inner edge of the foot rolls in and flattens the arch of the foot. Pronation stretches and irritates the tibial nerve in the tarsal tunnel. Wear orthotics inside the shoe to support the arch and reduce tension on the tibial nerve.

6. Get Injections

Ask a doctor about cortisone injections in the foot, which may temporarily relieve your symptoms by decreasing inflammation and swelling in the tarsal tunnel and reducing nerve irritation.

Exercises for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Some exercises may help relieve tarsal tunnel syndrome. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor before you do these to make sure these are appropriate for your condition. These home remedies and exercises usually reduce pressure on your tibial nerve and reduce symptoms. If your condition fails to improve, consult a doctor for further treatment.

1. Pencil Lift

  • Strengthen your toe muscles by placing a pencil on the floor and picking it up with your toes.
  • With your toes, grasp the pencil for 7-8 seconds and then relax.
  • Repeat six times.
  • Do this exercise 3 times daily.

2. Walking on Toes

  • Walk barefoot on your toes.
  • Do four sets of the exercise for 10-15 seconds each.
  • Rest for 15 seconds between each set.
  • Do the exercise twice a day.

3. Walking on Heels

  • Walk barefoot on your heels.
  • Do four sets for 10-15 seconds each.
  • Rest for 15 seconds between each set.
  • Do this exercise twice daily.

4. Standing Calf Stretch

  • Put hands on the wall.
  • Place the injured foot behind the other foot while pointing toes forward.
  • Keep your back leg straight and slowly bend the front knee until you can feel your calf in the back leg stretching.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds.
  • Relax for ten seconds.
  • Perform 6-10 sets. Do these 5-7 days a week.

5. Sitting Calf Stretch

  • To loosen your tight leg muscles, sit down with the knee straight.
  • Take a towel and loop it around the ball of affected foot.
  • Pull the towel back slowly until the upper calf is stretched.
  • Hold the position for 20 seconds.
  • Relax for 10 seconds.
  • Perform 6-10 sets. Do these 5-7 days a week.

6. Standing Heel Stretch

  • Put hands on the wall.
  • Place the injured foot behind the other foot while pointing toes forward.
  • With heels flat on the ground, bend your back knee slowly until your heel is stretched.
  • Hold the position for 20 seconds.
  • Relax for 10 seconds.
  • Perform 6-10 sets. Do these 5-7 days a week.

7. Sitting Heel Stretch

  • To loosen your tight leg muscles, sit down with the knee straight.
  • Take a towel and loop it around the ball of affected foot.
  • Pull the towel back slowly until the heel and lower calf are stretched.
  • Hold the position for 20 seconds.
  • Relax for 10 seconds.
  • Perform 6-10 sets. Do these 5-7 days a week.
 
 
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