Maybe you've heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition in the wrist that occurs when swelling or a change in position of the tissue within the carpal tunnel squeezes and irritates the median nerve. Similar to carpal tunnel syndrome is tarsal tunnel syndrome, an ankle condition that occurs from the compression of a nerve in a confined space.
What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
The tarsal tunnel is a narrow space located on the inside of the ankle next to the ankle bones. Protected by the tarsal tunnel are many arteries, veins, tendons and nerves, one of which is the posterior tibial nerve - the main focus of tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is caused from a compression on the posterior tibial nerve. Causes include:
- Injury to the ankle, which may produce swelling near the nerve.
- Abnormal blood vessels or cysts that occupy space within the tunnel.
- Scar tissue that press against the nerve.
- Foot deformities, such as flat feet, which increase strain on the nerve.
- Systematic diseases, such as diabetes or arthritis.
When patients visit us at our office with tarsal tunnel syndrome, they often experience one or more symptoms, usually felt on the bottom of the foot or the inside of the ankle. In some cases, the pain may extend to the heel, arch, toes and calf. Symptoms include:
- Burning or tingling sensation
We Can Help
If you experience pain, burning and tingling in your feet or toes, make an appointment with our office. Left untreated, tarsal tunnel syndrome could result in permanent nerve damage. Treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome varies depending on the severity of your condition. Anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, immobilization, rest and modifications in footwear are a few methods used to treat the damaged nerve and reduce the pain. When non-surgical treatments are unsuccessful, surgery may be recommended.
Although a shin splint is commonly used to describe various pains between the ankle and the knee, it actually refers to a specific inflammatory condition of the tibia -- a condition called medial tibial stress syndrome.
A type of "overuse injury" to the legs, the most common causes of shin splints include excessive running, poor conditioning and over-pronation (flattening of the arch). The result is pain in the front or inside of the lower leg that usually gets worse with a sudden increase in distance or intensity of training. Shin splints are a common problem for many runners and athletes. Muscle weakness, non-supportive shoes and overtraining are also contributing factors.
To prevent shin splints, warm up and stretch muscles before starting any workout activity and choose supportive footwear. Begin workouts gradually and avoid over-training. All of these methods will go a long way in helping to prevent many lower leg problems. Conservative treatment for most shin splint pain includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. Strengthening exercises, anti-inflammatory agents and custom foot orthotics may also be recommended to reduce symptoms.
Shin pain isn't always indicative of a shin splint. Lower leg pain may actually signal a more serious problem, including a stress fracture, partial muscle tear and tendonitis, all of which require special treatment. Always seek the professional care of a podiatrist if:
- You have severe pain in your shin following an injury.
- Your shin is hot and inflamed.
- Swelling in your shin increases.
- Shin pain persists during rest.
Proper diagnosis of the cause of pain is necessary in order to administer the most appropriate treatment. If you suffer from shin pain, visit your podiatrist for an evaluation and proper treatment.
Looking fabulous in your favorite pair of heels does have a price. In fact, shoes that fit poorly or have high heels frequently cause foot problems, including calluses, corns, bunions, and blisters, just to name a few.
All footwear eventually show signs of wear and tear. Inspect the condition of your own shoes. Do they appear stretched out or worn? Then you probably need a new pair. Creasing of the midsole is also a good indication that your shoes have lost their cushion and support.
Maximize Fit, Minimize Discomfort
The following tips can help you avoid purchasing a pair of shoes that may contribute to a long list of foot problems:
- Try on shoes late in the day, when the feet tend to be a bit larger due to natural swelling
- Women should opt for low, stable heels
- Try on both shoes to be sure that they fit comfortably on both feet
- Choose breathable shoe materials, such as leather, to prevent excessive sweating and blisters
- Have your feet measured to ensure the best fit
- Avoid pointy-toed shoes which cause bunions and hammertoes
- Walk around the store with both shoes on to make sure the fit is comfortable
- For athletes, choose shoes that are specific to the sport you play
- Choose the right shoe for your foot type (e.g. if you have flat feet, select shoes with good arch support)
Still not ready to part with your favorite pair of sneakers or trendy heels? Not sure if the shoes you currently wear are right for your feet? A professional podiatrist can evaluate the condition of your feet, and work with you to find the best pair of shoes for you!
During pregnancy, it's not uncommon for women to experience an array of aches and pains all over the body. Among these complaints are tired, swollen, achy feet - a common and painful symptom experienced by mothers-to-be during their nine months of pregnancy.
One of the most common foot problems to occur during pregnancy is swelling, or edema, which results from an extra accumulation of blood. The natural weight gain and enlarging uterus puts pressure on the veins that lead to the legs, causing circulation to slow down and increasing fluid retention. The legs and feet may become swollen, making shoes tight, and in some cases causing pain and discomfort. Slight swelling during pregnancy is normal and usually subsides after giving birth. Women should pay close attention to edema symptoms. Swelling to the face or a sudden onset of swelling could be a sign of a more serious condition called preeclampsia and should be reported immediately.
Another troubling foot problem that can occur during pregnancy is over-pronation (flat feet) which is caused when a person's arch flattens out upon weight bearing causing the feet to turn in abnormally. This condition develops when the dense band of tissue in the arch of the foot called the plantar fascia becomes strained and inflamed due to increased flattening of the feet. Over-pronation is common in pregnancy due to the increased weight gain which stresses the feet and flattens the arches. Walking can become very painful, and women may experience increased discomfort and strain on the feet, calves and back.
There are various remedies available to help minimize and alleviate foot pain during pregnancy.
- Take short breaks during the day and elevate your feet to relieve pressure and swelling.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Wear shoes that are soft, comfortable and give your feet room to move.
- Wear seamless socks that do not constrict circulation.
- Exercise or walk regularly to promote overall health.
- Stretch legs frequently and avoid crossing your legs when sitting.
- To prevent arch pain, stretch daily, avoid going barefoot and wear supportive low-heeled shoes.
When foot pain persists, visit your podiatrist. We'll work with you to find the best treatments for your foot pain. Pregnancy and pending motherhood should be a pleasant, enjoyable experience. Understanding the causes of foot pain and learning easy home remedies can help women step more comfortably throughout these special nine months.
Plantar warts are benign growths that develop on the bottom of your feet, and are caused by direct contact with the human papilloma virus (HPV). This is the same virus that causes warts on other areas of the body. Some people are more susceptible than others to HPV, and not everyone will develop plantar warts if they come into contact with the virus. Individuals with weak immune systems or damaged skin on the feet are at a higher risk for plantar warts.
Plantar warts most often develop on the weight-bearing areas of the foot - the heel or the ball of the foot - causing sharp, burning pain. They can appear as a single wart (solitary) or a cluster of warts (mosaic). Common symptoms may include:
- Pain or discomfort when walking or standing
- Thick, scaly skin that often resembles a callus
- Hard, flat growths with well-defined boundaries
- Tiny black specks (clotted blood vessels) that often appear on the surface of the wart
Most warts disappear with home care and do not require medical treatment. You can take steps to prevent and treat plantar warts, which include:
- Changing your shoes and socks daily
- Keeping your feet clean and dry
- Avoid picking at warts as the virus may spread
- Avoid direct contact with an individual who has plantar warts
- Checking your child's feet periodically
- Refrain from walking barefoot, especially in public areas like showers, swimming pools and locker rooms
- Never ignore skin growths or changes in your skin
You should always seek care from a podiatrist when warts interfere with your daily life, aren't responding to home treatments, or if you have circulatory disorders. Contact us if your warts:
- Change color or shape
- Cause unbearable pain and discomfort
- Interfere with activities
- Multiply or reappear
Without treatment, plantar warts can grow, spread and prompt new warts to grow as fast as the old ones disappear. If you can't confidently identify a growth on your foot, visit your podiatrist to ensure a correct diagnosis. Early diagnosis and treatment can decrease the risk of the wart spreading and multiplying.
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