Most people have heard about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It is pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand from repetitive movement. Have you ever wondered if you can get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in your feet? The answer is yes – but in the foot it’s called Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.
What causes Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
Causes include injuries, certain health issues, or even the shape of your feet. For example:
- Having flat feet or fallen arches
- Swelling from an ankle sprain
- Swelling of the feet or ankles because of arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease
- Large veins, cysts, tendons, or bone spurs
- Having to stand at work
What are the symptoms of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
Symptoms are felt on the bottom of the feet and include:
- Shooting pain
- Tingling or burning
How do you test for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
Proper diagnosis of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome requires expert analysis and evaluation. There are different tests for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, however no single test is considered 100% accurate. Here are the most common tests for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome:
Tinel’s Sign – The Tinel’s Sign involves lightly tapping of the Tarsal Tunnel with a small percussion hammer. If you get tingling or “pins and needles” going down into your toes, this is considered a positive Tinel’s Sign, and is frequently seen with Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.
X-Rays – are frequently taken to rule out a fracture.
Imaging Studies – such as Ultrasound or MRI can be used to see if there is a soft tissue mass or cyst pressing on the nerve.
Nerve Conduction Studies – measures the speed of the nerves from your lower back down to your feet. If the nerve speed is reduced when passing through the Tarsal Tunnel, this often means you have Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. It is definitely possible to have a positive Nerve Conduction Study and not have Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.
What treatment options are available for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
- Rest, ice, and compression
- Wear a splint at night to keep your foot aligned
- Losing weight
- Physical therapy
- Taking an oral medication
- Injection to decrease pressure, swelling, and pain
Natural remedies for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
- Eat foods that are anti-inflammatory
- Turmeric (an Indian spice)
- Use anti-inflammatory oils in your diet
- Flaxseed oil
- Omega 3 oil
- Virgin/Extra Virgin olive oil
- Drink tea with anti-oxidants
- Green tea
- White tea
- Drink a lot of water
Make an appointment with our office online or by calling (845) 298 – 9074 as soon as you begin to notice any of the symptoms of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Other things such as back problems and early neuropathy (a loss of sensation) can cause the same symptoms. Let us rule these out to find the best treatment for you.
By: Dr. David Schlam