Just as the hand has a carpal tunnel, the foot has a tarsal tunnel, through which major nerves pass from the ankle to the foot. This narrow passageway on the medial side (inside) of your heel can become compressed, resulting in pain and the inner heel or arch, and may radiate to the toes, the bottom of your foot or up the leg.
Symptoms are often described as burning, shooting pain or tingling. There are many potential causes, including trauma, flat feet, cysts or other soft tissue masses, inflammation of a tendon, and congestion or swelling of veins in the tunnel.
Diagnosis is made clinically by percussing (tapping) over the nerve at the tunnel, which reproduces the symptoms. A nerve conduction velocity test or MRI may also be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatments include rest, immobilization, anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections, orthotics, and surgery to release the tunnel.
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