Treatment for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Conservative treatment such as arch supports and wider shoes may successfully relieve the discomfort of tarsal tunnel syndrome. If inflammation of the nerve is causing the compression, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed. Due to potentially significant gastrointestinal and cardiovascular side effects, NSAIDs should only be used as instructed.

Steroid injections also may prove effective, although care must be taken during administration to avoid injury to the vein and artery. If the problem is caused by flat feet, custom orthotics can help restore the foot's natural arch (see Orthotics).

If conservative treatment measures are unsuccessful, surgical treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome may be necessary. In this procedure, an incision is made behind and below the inside of the ankle and the surgeon cuts the laciniate ligament, providing room for expansion of the nerve. If a cyst is impinging on the nerve, it can be removed. This procedure typically provides enough space to prevent the nerve from being compressed.

Publication Review By: J. Michael Lunsford, D.P.M., John J. Swierzewski, D.P.M.

Published: 31 Dec 1999

Last Modified: 06 Oct 2015