Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

This painful foot condition called the tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs mostly when the tibial nerve is excessively pressured. Just like the carpal tunnel syndrome, which afflicts the wrist, the tarsal tunnel syndrome is relatively harder to diagnose.

It is nerve behind providing the sensory movement in the calf and foot muscles. An injury or any form of neural damage caused can be rendered extremely painful as the myelin sheath covering the nerve cells might get severely damaged in the process, thereby destroying the movement senses travelling up the nerve.

Symptoms include a significantly burning sensation on the foot and toes, especially in the plantar side, followed by the numbness in sensation coupled with tingling. Other symptoms include weak muscular sensations followed by general pain and discomfort. On most cases patients suffering from this syndrome are known to have trouble curling their toes, pointing their feet in a straight line or rotating their ankle in the inward direction.

The common ways of curing the tarsal tunnel syndrome is through detailed physical diagnosis by doctors or specialists using x-rays, EMG, nerve biopsy and nerve conduction tests. One of the most common indications of the tarsal tunnel syndromes are inflammation around the tissues that are close to the tibial nerve. Increased swelling might worsen the condition as they tend to put the sensitive nerve under more pressure.

It is hardly undisclosed that most physicians have trouble diagnosing this disorder, but when the causes are resultant of injuring, blunt trauma or continual pressure over the nerve, the symptoms become relatively easy to diagnose. A persistent knee injury can also set off pressure over the tibial nerve. The tarsal tunnel syndrome can also manifest itself under the influence of diabetes, which is known to damage nerves and nerve cells all over the body. A rarer possibility is of the varicose vein or hidden tumors applying a crushing pressure on the nerve, thereby causing damage.

While anti-inflammatory drugs are used to reduce the swelling and alleviate the pressure on the nerve, many physicians also adopt the cortisone shots method. Corrective footwear mechanisms and other orthotic devices like shoe inserts provide the needed relief over prolonged usage. Physiotherapy can also be an effective treatment. Effective stretching of the calf muscles might help loosen the pressure and reduce the constriction around the tarsal tunnel, thereby reducing the pressure on the nerve greatly.

Other alternative methods of treating the tarsal tunnel syndrome include soft tissue massage, ultrasound treatment and electric current therapy. These not only enforce the effect of the anti-inflammatory drugs but also in their unique ways alleviate the pain and swelling. Most patients believe that complete bed rest and cessation of physical activity is sufficient to restore optimum health, without having to resort to additional methods. Diabetic patients however need to exercise more care to ensure that they do not lose sensation in their feet, thereby preventing risks of infections and ulcers.

In the most advanced cases of the tarsal tunnel syndrome, the tarsal tunnel is surgically enlarged to reduce constriction and the amount of pressure applied to the nerves. The tarsal tunnel syndrome is mostly cured by non-invasive methods, thereby obliterating the risk of running surgery altogether.

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