Posts for: May, 2017
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.
Broken bones are perhaps one of the most obvious medical situations to identify. However, sometimes breaks are not so noticeable and their symptoms can build in severity slowly over time, such as in the case of a stress fracture. Learn more about stress fractures and how to identify them with Dr. Jeffrey Belancio at South Jersey Foot and Ankle Specialists in Vineland, NJ.
What is a stress fracture?
A stress fracture can be severe bruising within the bone or a small crack in the bone. These types of injuries often come from repetitive motions or overuse, making them common in runners and athletes. Thanks to their location, the feet bear the brunt of your body’s weight, especially while running, jumping or even simply walking, making them highly susceptible to stress fractures. Stress fractures can occur due to plain overuse, but often occur when athletes make changes to their routine, for example, when they begin running on an outdoor sidewalk instead of their usual treadmill at the gym.
Do I have a stress fracture?
Just like an acute fracture, the main symptom of a stress fracture is pain. However, you may exhibit some other, more specific symptoms, including:
- pain that goes away or decreases with rest
- swelling on the top of the foot
- swelling on the outside of the ankle
- pain that increases while walking or using the foot
- tenderness to the touch
If you think you have a stress fracture, you should consult with your foot doctor to determine the best course of treatment for you and your feet.
Stress Fracture Treatments in Vineland, NJ
Stress fracture treatment often begins with the RICE method, which includes (R) resting the foot, (I) icing the foot, (C) compressing the foot, and (E) elevating the foot. You may also need to keep all the weight off of your foot by walking with crutches. Your doctor may recommend a cast or special footwear to protect the foot while it heals. Some cases will require surgery to correct the problem.
For more information on stress fractures or their treatments, please contact Dr. Belancio at South Jersey Foot and Ankle Specialists in Vineland, NJ. Call (856) 839-0579 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Belancio today!