If you’ve ever heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, there is a very similar condition that exists in the foot and leg. The condition is commonly referred to as tarsal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms vary but typical are burning and numbness in the foot, heel, and toes. Tingling and shooting sensations can also radiate up the leg to the knee.
Unlike carpal tunnel syndrome which involves only one nerve, the syndrome in the foot and ankle can involve sometimes up to three or more nerves. Tarsal tunnel syndrome involves the the nerve complex located just behind the ankle bone known as the medial malleolus and extends into the arch. Symptoms will sometimes mimic plantar fasciitis and cause heel pain. Sharp shooting pains that radiates to the toes and arch with no associated activity may indicate an entrapped nerve or tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Diagnosing this condition is a combination of clinical symptoms and history combined with nerve conduction/EMG studies that are performed as an outpatient in the hospital. We typically will perform a nerve block in the office and have the patient follow up in one week with a log of their symptoms.
Surgical release of the nerve is perform as an outpatient procedure and recovery is three weeks at most.