A Natural Approach to Health
Living With Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
I had a question the other day about tarsal tunnel syndrome.
The tarsal tunnel is a narrow space on the inside of your ankle next to your ankle bones.
The tunnel is covered with a thick ligament protecting and maintaining the structures inside the tunnel (arteries, veins, tendons, and nerves).
One of these structures is the posterior tibial nerve.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a compression, or squeezing, on the posterior tibial nerve producing symptoms anywhere along the path of the nerve running from the inside of your ankle into your foot.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, which happens in the wrist.
Both stem from the compression of a nerve in a confined space.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused by anything compressing your posterior tibial nerve, like:
>Flat feet (because the outward tilting of the heel with “fallen” arches can strain and compress on the nerve).
>A varicose vein, ganglion cyst, swollen tendon, or arthritic bone spur can compress the nerve.
>An injury, like an ankle sprain, may cause inflammation and swelling in or near the tunnel.
>Systemic diseases like diabetes or arthritis can cause swelling and compress the nerve.
People with tarsal tunnel syndrome usually have one or more of these symptoms:
>Tingling, burning, or a sensation like an electrical shock
>Pain, including shooting pain
Symptoms are usually felt on the inside of your ankle and/or on the bottom of your foot.
In some people, a symptom may occur in just one spot.
In others, it may extend to the heel, arch, toes, and even the calf.
Sometimes the symptoms appear suddenly.
Often they’re brought on or aggravated by overuse of your foot, like prolonged standing, walking, or exercising.
It’s very important to seek early treatment if any of the symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome occur.
If left untreated, it can progress and may result in permanent nerve damage.
In addition, because the symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome can be confused with other conditions, proper evaluation is essential.
To deal with tarsal tunnel it’s beneficial to:
*Stop activities that cause numbness and pain.
*Rest your foot.
*Ice the affected area for 20 minutes, then wait 40 minutes before icing again.
*Restricting movement of the foot by wearing a cast is sometimes necessary to allow healing.
*Custom shoe inserts may help maintain the arch and limit excessive motion.
*Wear supportive shoes.
*Stay at a healthy weight.
*Exercise to stay strong and flexible.
*Eat more foods high in vitamins, magnesium, and calcium
*Stay well hydrated, drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily
*Breathe deeply to oxygenate your cells.
*Increase EFAs (essential fatty acids) with Omega 3, flaxseed oil, olive oil, etc., because these help lubricate and decrease inflammation
*Increase B-complex, Lecithin, Cal/Mag, and VitalMag because these support nerve function.