CONDITION: Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a fairly rare condition caused by abnormal pressure on the posterior tibial nerve. The posterior tibial nerve is located behind the medial malleolus, the bump on the inside of the ankle, and runs under the flexor retinaculum, a band of fibrous tissue that is like a canal, or tunnel. This tunnel, the tarsal tunnel, contains the nerve, artery, tendons and veins that go to the bottom of the foot. Tarsal tunnel syndrome has been compared to carpal tunnel syndrome, and both are often misdiagnosed. The pain experienced in the ankle or the wrist is often referred pain and may be due to an injured or weakened annular ligament in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome, and injured or weakened ligaments at the ball of the foot in the case of tarsal tunnel syndrome.
How does tarsal tunnel syndrome develop?
Tarsal tunnel syndrome symptoms develop when the tibial nerve in the tarsal tunnel becomes dysfunctional due to excess pressure. Pressure causes the nerve in the tunnel to be squeezed against the flexor retinaculum, which is quite inflexible. This results in numbness in the nearby skin area, as well as muscle weakness and pain in the area of the pinched nerve.
Unfortunately, however, many people with ankle and foot pain have been misdiagnosed with tarsal tunnel syndrome! Chronic pain in these areas is most often due to a sprain or weakening of the metatarsal, lateral collateral and medial collateral ligaments, ligaments rarely examined by a family physician or an orthopedic surgeon.
What are the symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome?
Symptoms include pain in the ankle, arch, toes or heel. Some individuals experience a slight pain, burning or tingling in the sole of the foot. The course of the nerve may also be sensitive to touch. As the condition worsens, weakness and numbness can occur in the foot. If pressure is kept off the foot and ankle, the symptoms may decrease; likewise, they will get worse if the foot and ankle are strained excessively.
Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome, but they do not address the root of the problem. In addition, many of those diagnosed with tarsal tunnel syndrome actually have ligament weakness! By strengthening structural weaknesses in the body, as natural medicine treatments like Prolotherapy do, pain associated with tarsal tunnel syndrome may be alleviated permanently.
Discover why we believe that natural medicine treatments are the best way to treat tarsal tunnel syndrome and ligament weakness.
Click here to read Prolotherapy research by Dr. Ross Hauser and his team on Prolotherapy injections for ankle pain and degeneration.