Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome


The tarsal tunnel is located inside the ankle next to the ankle bones. Its job is to protect veins, arteries, tendons and nerves. When this tibial nerve is squeezed, or compressed, it results in a condition called tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS). Many patients experience a tingling or burning sensation inside the ankle or in the sole of the foot while others experience pain in the ankle, heel, toes, arch, and even up the calf.

How did I get this?

There is no one specific cause for tarsal tunnel syndrome, but inflammation is the most recognized reason for TTS. Since the tibial nerve is encased in the tarsal tunnel, anything that takes up extra room like inflammation causes swelling in the tissues and puts pressure on the nerve.

What can I do about it?

  • Rest may be suggested to control the symptoms initially.
  • Ice or heat treatment.
  • Activity modification.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications help reduce the inflammation and swelling of the tissues around the tibial nerve.
  • See a podiatrist.

What help can I get for this?

  • Podiatrist may prescribe padding or strapping, specialized orthotics to relieve the symptoms, and give footwear advice.
  • Orthopedic surgeon for surgical management if nonoperative approach fails.
  • Physical therapy for specialized strengthening exercise for up to eight weeks after surgery.

When will it get better?

  • An improvement in your symptoms may take about 2-3 months.
  • Surgery causes release of pressure on the nerve, so by the time the sutures are removed you may already have had relief of your symptoms.