Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by an impingement of the tibial nerve at the level of the tarsal tunnel in the foot.  People with tarsal tunnel syndrome typically have symptoms such as numbness, tingling, burning and shooting pains from the tarsal tunnel into the heel, arch and out into the toes.  The pain can sometimes go up into the leg.

Anything that creates pressure in the tarsal tunnel can cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.  This could include various conditions such as varicose veins within the tarsal tunnel, benign tumors or cysts, ganglions, inflammation of the tendon sheaths, or swelling from ankle trauma.  Diabetics seem to be prone to tarsal tunnel syndrome and people that have a pronated foot type also seem to develop the condition as excessive pronation can place strain onto the inside of the foot and ankle.

What we can do to help you solve this problem

If you are having symptoms consistent with tarsal tunnel syndrome, we would recommend that we see you as a patient.

Initially, we will perform a complete history and physical examination to determine the cause of your pain. We will perform a comprehensive biomechanical examination to see what role your gait plays in the development of the problem.  Digital x-rays are sometimes need to assess your bone and joint structure. Rest and/or immobilization may be necessary.  Prescription anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injection may be used to reduce the inflammation associated with this condition.


Tarsal tunnel syndrome often responds to arch support treatment.  If your symptoms are mild, we may be able to use a pre-made arch support to control the abnormal flattening of your arch and to take the strain off of the tarsal tunnel.  We carry arch supports in our office that are typically much better than what you will find in the store.  Some cases of tarsal tunnel syndrome are more severe and may require the use of a prescription orthotic.  This is a custom-made arch support that is made from a plaster impression or digital scan of your foot and arch.  Unlike pre-made arch supports, however, an orthotic completely controls abnormal pronation or flattening of the arch and most effectively removes the strain from the tarsal tunnel. Read more about custom orthotics.  

If conservative treatment measures fail, surgery may be needed to relieve the pressure of the impinged nerve.  

The doctors at Council Bluffs Foot & Ankle Care are experts in the treatment of this painful condition.  If you have pain consistent with tarsal tunnel syndrome, it is important to see us to determine the exact cause of the pain and to provide you the proper treatment.  Call to request an appointment today.

320 McKenzie Ave., Ste. 102

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