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Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome – Another Cause of Heel Pain

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With the temperatures out of the triple digits, your regular outdoor runs should be a lot more comfortable the next few months.   You shouldn’t run into any problems out there if you have kept to a solid program that involves strengthening and stretching along with you running schedule.  It is important to remember that changes in footwear, terrain, or many other small components of your run can affect your foot health.  As many of our previous blogs have discussed, there are many causes of heel pain including plantar fasciitis and calcaneal apophysitis amongst many others.  Heel pain that lasts longer than a few days is a sign that the problem is more than just overuse and the best treatment can be found at your Austin podiatrist.

 

One such cause of heel pain is tarsal tunnel syndrome.  While not as well known as its cousin (carpal tunnel syndrome), tarsal tunnel syndrome can take the fun out of your runs and replace it with discomfort and pain.  This tunnel is created by a fascia that begins at your medial malleolus (bump on the inside of your ankle) and extends to your calcaneus (heel bone).  This narrow space contains an artery, vein, multiple tendons that move your toes and foot, as well as a nerve.  It is this nerve, the tibialis posterior, that can become compressed or impinged upon and leads to the symptoms that are typical of this condition. Heel pain, burning, tingling or numbness to the inside or bottom of the foot are typical.  These types of symptoms are common to nerve impingements or other nerve injury, whether they are in your hands or your feet. 

 

A through physical exam by your podiatrist at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists will identify the correct source of your heel pain and provide the appropriate treatment.  In the acute situation, rest, ice, and oral anti-inflammatory medication or local injection can decrease the soft tissue impingement and resolve your symptoms. Unfortunately, without addressing the origin of the problem the symptoms often return.  Be sure to relay to your doctor any changes in activity, intensity, or footwear to allow proper diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause behind your heel pain

Dr. Shine John, DPM, FACFAS
Podiatric Physician, Surgeon, Specialist at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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