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How Is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?

The tibial nerve in the ankle enables movement and feeling in areas of the foot. When this nerve gets compressed, it forms what is known as tarsal tunnel syndrome.  This can happen as a result of a sprained ankle, or medical conditions that can include flat feet, high arches, or diabetes. Tarsal tunnel syndrome often causes severe pain and discomfort and is noticeable in the bottom of the foot and toes. Some of the tests that are performed to reach a diagnosis can include a nerve biopsy, and electromyography, which is a recording of electrical activity in the muscles. Treatment options can include resting and elevating the affected foot, and surgery may be recommended that can permanently reduce the pressure. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed and treated by a podiatrist, and it is advised to consult with this type of doctor if you think you may have this condition.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact one of our podiatrists of The Foot and Ankle Associates of North Carolina, PLLC. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can also be called tibial nerve dysfunction, is an uncommon condition of misfiring peripheral nerves in the foot. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the tibial nerve is damaged, causing problems with movement and feeling in the foot of the affected leg.

Common Cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Involves pressure or an injury, direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or near the knee.
  • Diseases that damage nerves, including diabetes, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.
  • At times, tarsal tunnel syndrome can appear without an obvious cause in some cases.

The Effects of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Different sensations, an afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg.
  • The foot muscles, toes and ankle become weaker, and curling your toes or flexing your foot can become difficult.
  • If condition worsens, infections and ulcers may develop on the foot that is experiencing the syndrome.

A physical exam of the leg can help identify the presence of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Medical tests, such as a nerve biopsy, are also used to diagnose the condition. Patients may receive physical therapy and prescriptive medication. In extreme cases, some may require surgery.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Ahoskie, Durham, Raleigh, and Rocky Mount, NC. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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