So you decide to celebrate the warmer weather with a new workout routine, and now you are noticing pain around the bone that protrudes by your inner ankle. You may not know this, but you have a tunnel there with blood vessels, tendons and nerves running through it. Your pain could be happening because your posterior tibial nerve is being pinched there.
The tarsal tunnel is formed by your heel and ankle bones and a wide, flat ligament called the flexor retinaculum. These structures don’t budge much, so if there is swelling of tissues in or around the tunnel from an ankle sprain, for example, things can get a little crowded. Nerves don’t like to be crowded, and they usually let you know about it in a hurry!
An injury like a sprain or a fracture, or even a tendon damaged from overuse, can cause inflammation and swelling, but so can diseases like diabetes or arthritis. Poor circulation associated with diabetes can cause blood to pool in your lower extremities and cause edema, and arthritis sometimes causes bone spurs to form in the joints. Both could be reasons for the extra pressure on the nerve.
Other tissues can expand and stress the nerve as well. You could develop a cyst, for instance, or a tumor—benign or cancerous. Even a bulging varicose vein could cause an issue.
Another common cause of tarsal tunnel pain is overpronation. When your foot rolls inward too much with each step, the ankle bones move out of alignment and strain the soft tissues in this area. Thus, having flat feet can contribute to the problem.
Symptoms will include pain just beneath the inside ankle bone that can shoot down into your arch and toes and up into your calf as well. You may also notice a burning or electric shock tingling, or the foot and toes may feel numb.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your feet, rest from any activity that causes them and contact Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center for an appointment to be evaluated. You don’t want to ignore nerve problems, because they can worsen if not treated and cause permanent damage. Just call (303) 423-2520 to schedule a visit at our Golden, Wheat Ridge, Granby, or Evergreen, CO offices, or request your appointment online. Let our expert staff help relieve your pain!
Photo Credit: Somkiat Fakmee via freedigitalphotos.net