Foot Care from A to Z

Thomas P. Lyman, BS; Tracey C. Vlahovic, DPM, FAPWCA


Dermatology Nursing 

In This Article

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome as it is an entrapment of the posterior tibial nerve on the medial ankle. It can be related to biomechanics, foot type, or trauma. The associated complaint is burning pain or pins and needles in the medial aspect of the plantar foot (Mahan, Rock, & Hillstrom, 1996). The pain often radiates up the leg or into the toes. Tapping on the area of the nerve may elicit Tinel's sign (reproduction of symptoms radiating into the foot) or Valleix's sign (reproduction of symptoms radiating up the leg proximally). It can also be diagnosed via electromyogram. MRI is often ordered to rule out a space-occupying lesion (lipoma, varicose vein, tumor) pressing on the nerve and causing tarsal tunnel-like symptoms. Pain relief is achieved through immobilization with a cast, corticosteroid injection, or surgical decompression of the nerve.