Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a foot condition caused by repeated pressure or compression of the posterior tibial nerve that runs down the inside of the ankle and foot. It is a common cause of arch and heel pain.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is similar to the well-known carpal tunnel syndrome, in that both are related to compression or irritation to a nerve in a small, narrowed space.
What is the tarsal tunnel?
The tarsal tunnel is a narrow anatomical tunnel on the inside of your ankle that is bound by bone and soft tissue. In this tunnel along with the posterior tibial nerve are tendons and arteries, and due to the restricted space this is a common site for nerve compression or entrapment, hence the name tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Signs & symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome
The following signs or symptoms can indicate tarsal tunnel syndrome:
- A tingling or burning pain around the inside of the ankle or foot, along the course of the nerve.
- Referred tingling pain or a ‘shooting’ pain in the heel, arch or toes of the foot.
- Numbness or altered sensation of the foot, especially around the ankle, heel or soul of the foot.
- In more severe cases of nerve damage numbness in the foot can be constant.
- Symptoms are often worse following activity.