Relief Tips for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (TTS) is a condition that occurs when the tibial nerve in the foot becomes compressed, leading to nerve damage and pain. TTS is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, but instead of affecting the wrist and hand, it affects the foot and ankle. Symptoms of TTS may include pain or tingling in the foot and toes, numbness, and a tingle in the sole.
If you suspect you may be suffering from TTS, seeking medical attention from a podiatrist or foot specialist as soon as possible is important. In the meantime, here are some relief tips that may help alleviate the symptoms of TTS.
What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
TTS is a condition that occurs when the tibial nerve, which runs from the back of the leg down to the foot, becomes compressed. The tibial nerve is responsible for sensation and movement in the foot, and when it becomes compressed, it can cause pain, tingling, and numbness. TTS is often caused by a bone spur or a swollen ligament, which can pressure the nerve.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you suspect, you may have TTS, seeing a podiatrist or foot specialist is important for a proper diagnosis. The diagnosis may involve a physical exam and an MRI to check for nerve compression. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment options may include rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy to help increase the range of motion.
In severe cases, steroid injections may be recommended to reduce inflammation and relieve nerve compression. Surgery may be considered a last resort if other treatment options are unsuccessful.
Relief Tips for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Rest and Ice
One of the easiest ways to help relieve the symptoms of TTS is to rest and apply ice to the affected area. This can help reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief from pain and discomfort. To rest your foot, try to keep it elevated above the level of your heart for at least 30 minutes several times a day. This can help reduce swelling and relieve pressure on the tibial nerve. To apply ice, wrap a cold pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes. Be sure to take breaks between applications to avoid damaging the skin.
Exercise and Stretching
Exercise and stretching can also help alleviate the symptoms of TTS. Focus on exercises that stretch the calf muscles and the arch of the foot, which can help reduce pressure on the tibial nerve. For example, you can try the following stretches:
- Calf stretch: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall for support. Place one foot behind the other, and press the heel of the back foot into the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
- Arch stretch: Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place a tennis ball or a rolled-up towel under the arch of your foot, and roll it back and forth for a few minutes. Repeat on the other foot.
Physical therapy may also be recommended to help increase the range of motion and improve the strength of the muscles that support the foot and ankle.
Compression and Custom Orthotics
Compression and custom orthotics can also help alleviate the symptoms of TTS. Compression socks or stockings can help reduce swelling and improve circulation, while custom orthotics can help support the foot arch and reduce pressure on the tibial nerve. Compression socks or stockings should be worn during the day and removed at night to allow the skin to breathe. Custom orthotics should be fitted by a podiatrist or foot specialist to ensure they provide the proper support for your foot and ankle.
Custom orthotics may include a brace that can help alleviate the symptoms of TTS. A brace is a type of orthotic device that can help provide support to the foot and ankle. It is usually made of a rigid material, such as plastic or metal, and is designed to keep your foot in the proper position. Braces can treat various foot and ankle conditions, including TTS. Your podiatrist or foot specialist may recommend a brace as part of the treatment plan for TTS, depending on the severity of the condition. The brace will be custom-fitted to your foot and ankle to ensure proper support and alignment.
Choosing supportive footwear is also important for managing TTS. Look for shoes that provide cushioning and support to the foot, and avoid high heels or shoes with a narrow toe box, which can put pressure on the tibial nerve. Shoes with a low heel and a wide toe box are generally the best option for individuals with TTS. Additionally, you can try wearing shoes with a rocker sole, which can help reduce pressure on the ball of your foot and the heel.
Pain Medication and Injections
Over-the-counter pain medication may also help relieve the symptoms of TTS. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and inflammation, while steroid injections may be recommended in severe cases to reduce inflammation and relieve nerve compression. Pain medication and injections should only be used under the guidance of a medical professional and should not be relied upon as a long-term solution for managing TTS.
Preventing Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
Preventing TTS involves keeping your foot and ankle health and avoiding activities that may cause nerve compression. Choosing the right footwear, stretching before exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight can all help reduce your risk of developing TTS.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome can cause significant discomfort and pain, but there are ways to manage its symptoms. Relief tips such as rest, ice, exercise and stretching, compression and custom orthotics, supportive footwear, and pain medication can all help alleviate the symptoms of TTS. It's important to seek medical attention from a podiatrist or foot specialist to determine the best treatment for your needs. With proper care and attention, individuals with TTS can find relief and improve their quality of life.