What Is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
You might be familiar with the carpal tunnel, which is the narrow passageway located at the wrist. The tarsal tunnel is a similar, narrow space, but it’s located on the inside of the ankle. This structure houses blood vessels, tendons, and nerves, including the posterior tibial nerve. Just like carpal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome involves the compression of the nerve when there isn’t sufficient space within this area. Since this condition can worsen, patients would be wise to contact a foot specialist near Sugar Land. A podiatrist may recommend nonsurgical treatments or surgical intervention to restore the function of the foot and ankle.
Signs and Symptoms
The compression of the posterior tibial nerve can cause tingling, which is often described as a pins and needles sensation. Numbness and burning or shooting foot pain also indicate nerve damage. These symptoms may develop suddenly for no apparent reason, but they can also develop after overuse of the foot from prolonged standing or exercising.
Causes and Risk Factors
The underlying cause of tarsal tunnel syndrome is the pressure exerted on the posterior tibial nerve. The nerve can be compressed when the tarsal tunnel is narrower than usual, which can occur when there is swelling and inflammation in the area. Diabetes and arthritis are risk factors for tarsal tunnel syndrome because they can both cause inflammation that narrows this space. An injury, such as an ankle sprain, can have a similar effect. Other patients may develop tarsal tunnel syndrome because of an abnormality that takes up space in the area, such as a ganglion cyst, bone spur, varicose vein, or swollen tendon. Flatfoot is another risk factor of tarsal tunnel syndrome, as fallen arches cause the heel to tilt outward, which can compress the area.
Podiatrists can often treat tarsal tunnel syndrome without surgery. Patients will be advised to keep weight off the affected foot to allow it to heal. They can also:
- Apply ice packs for 20 minutes at a time.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Wear a cast or brace to immobilize the foot.
- Receive injections of anesthetic and/or steroid medicines.
- Use custom orthotic devices and supportive shoes.
- Go to physical therapy.
If these nonsurgical treatments aren’t enough to relieve symptoms and heal the area, the podiatrist might recommend surgical intervention.
Signs You Have Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is a common and painful condition that affects the plantar fascia, the ligament that runs from the heel along the bottom of the foot. Although it frequently begins in one foot, over time, it may impact both feet. If you think you could have plantar fasciitis, see your foot doctor in Sugar Land as soon as possible for diagnosis. The earlier you begin treatment for plantar fasciitis, the easier it is likely to be to get relief. Consider making an appointment with your foot doctor if you have these symptoms.
The pain caused by plantar fasciitis is usually sharp and intense. It starts in the heel and may run along the bottom of the foot. The pain is at its worst after a period of rest, when the ligament gets stiff and needs to be stretched out again. For that reason, most people complain of significant pain when getting out of bed in the morning or after extended periods of sitting or standing still. Depending on the severity of the condition, the pain may go away completely after the ligament gets stretched out after periods of walking around, or it may persist throughout the day and interfere with mobility.
Burning sensations are also possible with plantar fasciitis. This kind of pain usually occurs along the bottom of the foot and may persist all day. Burning pain may be accompanied by numbness or tingling that may be relieved after walking to loosen the ligament.
Stiffness is a very common symptom of plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia can get very right and stiff after periods of inactivity, causing stiffness that affects the whole foot. Swelling is also possible alongside the stiffness. If you have plantar fasciitis, your foot doctor may show you exercises you can use to reduce stiffness to help control some of your symptoms. Many people with plantar fasciitis must do these exercises as soon as they get out of bed in the mornings to reduce the intense pain they feel.
Reasons for Reconstructive Foot Surgery
If you’ve visited a podiatrist or a foot specialist for diagnosis and treatment of a foot problem, and have since noticed that your symptoms or ailments have reoccurred, you may be a great candidate for reconstructive foot surgery. The non-invasive treatments that were provided by your previous podiatrist may not have been effective, or you may have opted for foot surgery and found that your symptoms later returned. A podiatrist specializing in reconstructive foot surgery near Sugar Land will be able to offer you some relief.
Non-Invasive Treatments Were Ineffective
Many common foot ailments can be treated with non-invasive methods, and that is likely where any podiatrist will begin his treatment. Plantar fasciitis, ingrown toenails, heel spurs, hammertoes, ganglion cysts, and bunions can all be treated non-surgically. If non-surgical options fail and symptoms persist, your podiatrist may recommend that your condition be treated through surgery. While surgery is often a last resort in treatment, it is typically the most effective way to treat these conditions.
A Previous Foot Surgery Was Unsuccessful
Despite surgery, some foot problems can reoccur years later. Ganglion cysts and bunions can both return even after a seemingly successful foot surgery. Additionally, surgeons are not infallible, and you may find that the foot surgeon you previously visited did not perform the surgery perfectly, resulting in complications or problems. Hardware such as screws or plates that were used in your surgery may become loose or need to be replaced. Certain other conditions may return or reoccur, requiring further surgery to relieve symptoms.
You Are Suffering From Foot Pain and Loss of Function
Reconstructive foot surgery is sometimes performed as a primary treatment option for certain foot problems. If you’re suffering from intense foot and ankle pain, a deformity, or a disease that has resulted in the loss of function of your foot or ankle, your podiatrist may recommend surgery. Such foot problems include adult flatfoot syndrome, a foot or ankle fracture or break, acute stages of posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, severe neuromas, and tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Types of Hammertoes
Do you suffer from hammertoes? This condition can cause the muscles and connective tissues in the toes to contract, making the toes bend at a severe angle. Hammertoes can make even the simplest activities painful and normally require the help of a podiatrist who specializes in hammertoes in Sugar Land . Before determining a course of treatment, a foot doctor must first decide your type of hammertoes. If you have been suffering from this problem for some time, you may have rigid hammertoes. As their name denotes, rigid hammertoes can be difficult to address with noninvasive means. The tissues that control the movement of the toes are inflexible, making surgical treatment the most beneficial approach for most patients. However, if you have flexible hammertoes, a foot and ankle specialist may be able to correct your problem with other means. Especially if your toes have yet to lock into a hammertoe formation, your podiatrist might suggest tape and orthotics before surgery.
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