Foot pain can be hard to diagnose, especially when several conditions present with similar symptoms.
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is notorious for this, as the pain associated with this condition shares many of the characteristics of plantar fasciitis.
This is one of the most often missed diagnoses in medicine according to Dr. Meredith Warner, our company's founder.
Let’s look at this condition in deeper detail to pinpoint its differences, as well as to find effective solutions to pain.
WHAT IS TARSAL TUNNEL SYNDROME?
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (TTS) centers around the posterior tibial nerve in your ankle.
This nerve, also called the L4-S3 nerve, branches from the sciatic nerve. It is the most distal branch of the sciatic nerve actually. It passes behind the inside ankle (medial malleolus) in the tarsal tunnel to enter the foot.
The tibial nerve is both a motor and a sensory nerve.
When your foot or ankle is injured, this can cause the compression of this nerve.
Genetics – specifically from hereditary compression neuropathy – is also a possible cause for this nerve compression.
For the most part, scientists do not known why some people have tarsal tunnel syndrome and others do not.
WHAT DOES TARSAL TUNNEL SYNDROME FEEL LIKE?
When the posterior tibial tendon is squeezed, it can result in pain that spreads out from this specific nerve and into the foot and lower leg.
This pain can range in intensity, and it can make it difficult to walk, stand, or exercise.
This is a classic ‘entrapment’ neuropathy.
Many people feel TTS as simply heel pain. It mimics plantar fasciitis.
In fact, one only feels the pain of plantar fasciitis because of a nerve branch implicated in tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Therefore, it makes sense that the pain would be very similarly.
Some with TTS have instep pain, others have only pain on the lateral (outside) edge of the sole. Some complain of numbness and tingling. Others report leg or foot cramping. Still more report leg pain and shooting pains up and down the ankle.
The presentation is variable. This is something that is easily confused for other problems.
Think of tarsal tunnel as you do of carpal tunnel. This is the same problem but found in the ankle and foot instead of the wrist and hand!
HOW CAN I PREVENT TTS?
Over-exercising may be a common cause of tarsal tunnel.
Compression of the medial plantar branch of the tibial nerve is actually known as ‘jogger’s nerve’ for this reason.
Repeated injury can lead to deformity of the ankle, compression of the posterior tibial tendon, and overall weakness of this particular area – or the foot and ankle as a whole.
That being said, physicians do not know why some people have TTS and others do not. Therefore, there is no good way to prevent it as the true cause is unknown.
Here are a few tips for preventing this nerve compression:
- Make sure that when you exercise, you are wearing supportive tennis shoes without an aggressive arch support to help promote the health of your foot throughout physical activity.
Too much of an arch support can potentially compress the medial plantar nerve.
- Always allow your feet time to rest following your workout and try not to overexert yourself if you are feeling pain or sensitivity in your foot and ankles – or anywhere else in the body, for that matter.
- Choose low-impact exercises, like cycling and swimming to give your limbs a much-needed break while still getting plenty of effective exercise in your routine.
- Stretch your Achilles (heel cord) after exercise and massage the plantar surface of the foot.
PREVENTATIVE CARE WITH WELL THEORY
Dr. Meredith Warner, the inventor of The Healing Sole, developed a line of wellness products to help actively promote a healthier, more active lifestyle without pain and sickness slowing you down.
Well Theory is her answer to daily pain, immune issues, inflammation, and more.
Our Pain Relief Foot Cream, for example, is a fantastic way to keep tarsal tunnel pain at a minimum no matter when or where you need it during the day.
Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), lidocaine, menthol, and curated essential oils work together to relieve inflammation and muscle pain anywhere in the foot and ankle that it is applied.
This is just one of many products that help to support healthy function of all of your body’s symptoms. Reach for one or more of our Well Theory products today for fast and lasting relief!
FINDING ACTIVE RELIEF WITH THE HEALING SOLE
The Healing Sole is designed to offload stress from the feet and relieve pain actively. This means that pain relief moves with you and your particular gait pattern.
As you walk, you unconsciously interact with each feature of our flip flops:
- The rocker bottom sole provides an active stretch as your foot pushes off from heel to toe.
- The compressible inner heel cushions excess pressure placed on the heel as you stand or walk.
- The gently raised arch support cradles the arch, no matter its height, and offers essential structure throughout your daily movement.
- The metatarsal bar beneath the toes and ball of the foot offloads stress place on the forefoot.
Without even realizing it, you are giving your feet the relief they need so that natural healing can occur.
From tarsal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, and heel spurs to general foot pain, The Healing Sole can help you to erase pain and sensitivity from your day, leaving you free to live your life exactly how you want to.
The Healing Sole is not designed to reduce compression on the tibial nerve itself, but will provide a good platform for foot health as you recover from this problem.
If you are ready to kick foot pain to the curb, make sure to order your pair of our pain-fighting footwear today.