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How Tibial Nerve Decompression Works

Nerve painWhat gets on your nerves? Drivers who don’t use their turn signals? Uncle Larry’s political views? Those might be fair responses, but we’re actually thinking a little more literally here.

Your body contains a system of nerves that transmit data back and forth to and from the brain, and because they often have to wind through narrow tunnels and gaps in bones and joints, they can occasionally be impaired by real, physical pressure. One particularly common example is the posterior tibial nerve being compressed within the tarsal tunnel, located at the inside of your ankle. This is known as tarsal tunnel syndrome, and is associated with pain, tingling, and other uncomfortable situations in the heel, arch, and sometimes even toes and lower leg.

After an earful of Uncle Larry, you may need an hour or two with a good book and a quiet room to decompress. When it comes to tarsal tunnel syndrome, you may need a surgical decompression.

In this procedure, the surgeon’s goal is to release the pressure and pinching on the nerve. No longer pinched, the nerve pain is reduced and normal function begins to return. An incision is made along the back of the ankle which allows us to access the tarsal tunnel. Next, we excise or loosen whatever structures are causing the mechanical impairment. Usually, this means cutting one or more of the ligaments surrounding the tunnel so that the nerve has more space. However, it’s also possible that the compression is being caused by a mass such as a cyst or bone spur that must be removed.

Surgery is quick—usually no more than an hour—and performed within our office. The good news is that pain relief is similarly rapid, and the full recovery period usually only lasts for around two months.

It’s worth pointing out that not every case of tarsal tunnel syndrome needs to be treated with decompression surgery. Sometimes conservative remedies, such as rest, immobilization, stretching, or medications, may be effective. The Absolute Foot Care Specialists will evaluate your condition thoroughly and present you with the most appropriate treatment options. To schedule your appointment, please call us at (702) 839-2010.

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