Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Treaments
Anti-inflammatory medications can be used to reduce inflammation in the tarsal tunnel and reduce TTS symptoms. However, often this method is usually only somewhat effective for mild cases of TTS and does not heal the damaged tissue. As a result, TTS patients who only use anti-inflammatory medications as treatment find their TTS returns again and again. It is important to heal the tissue surrounding your tarsal tunnel to avoid the symptoms worsening and increasing the chance of surgery being required.
Although pain killers provide some relief they will only mask the symptoms of TTS and are a temporary solution. As well corticosteroids and diuretics that reduce swelling have been found to be temporary pain solutions and do not treat the syndrome at the source.
Cold Compression Therapy - RICE
When treating Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, rest your foot as much as possible and apply ice for 10-20 minutes at a time, at least 3 times a day. Do this to the sore ankle for the first day to 3 days.
If you have a cold wrap for the ankle, you will quickly find that frequent cold compression, tarsal tunnel treatments are much less troublesome, and you can do this while getting on with your day. Note that the importance of the cold treatment is very high, though when surveyed, most TTS sufferers never take advantage of this easy treatment step. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy may be used after acute swelling of the ankle and foot has improved and rest prevents further progression of the injury. Cold Compression will reduce initial inflammation and swelling and the blood flow stimulation circulates blood through the area to speed the healing process. This can be further helped by the use of ultrasound applications over the affected area, as it reduces scar tissue build up in the tarsal tunnel region.
Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy (BFST)
An Ankle/Achilles Inferno Wrap™ is one of the most helpful tools to treat TTS. Through the absorption of the Energy Web's healing energy waves, tissues are safely and gently heated - increasing blood flow within the treated area. Your body's natural response to this increased temperature is to try to maintain a condition of homeostasis - a balanced environment or state of equilibrium throughout the body. To do this, your body responds with a rapid increase in blood flow to the area (known as vasodilation), increasing the supply of nutrients to injured cells and flushing out toxins (including lactic acid, commonly found in trigger points) to promote healing. Our Ankle/Achilles Inferno Wrap™ provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief with no side effects.
The long term use of therapeutic ultrasound is common with this injury, as the application of ultrasound will:
- Counteract atrophy in muscles and tendons
- Increase the elasticity of all tendons that pass through the tarsal tunnel
- Soften inelastic scar tissue from injured tendons / muscle fiber to the point where it is eventually re-absorbed by the body
- Decrease inflammation of tendons, and the flexor retinaculum (a fibrous sheath passing through the tarsal tunnel). All tendons in the tarsal tunnel are sheathed, and once tendons become inflamed, the sheath swells and can also become inflamed, and at the worst, infected. If you suspect you have any type of infection in the area, please consult a physician immediately as this can be very damaging if left untreated (Never use ultrasound over anything suspected of being infected)
It is important to know that therapeutic ultrasound will alleviate TTS symptoms, but to truly treat TTS properly and prevent reoccurrence, an extended treatment term is required - 2 months is not unusual. Treatment length will vary depending on the severity, and there are some cases of TTS that are just too chronic, in which case there are very few treatment options other than invasive surgery. If this is the case for your TTS condition, please make sure you are fully informed about the risks and rewards of TTS corrective surgery.
Making some changes in your lifestyle can help reduce the symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome and reduce the risk of it returning. Staying healthy and treating any conditions that might increase your risk of TTS, like diabetes, arthritis and thyroid disease, can help. As well, if your work, hobbies or daily tasks are causing more strain on your foot try reducing your movements or sit to perform your tasks if possible. Stretching or flexing your foot, knee and legs regularly throughout the day can help maintain more flexible joints and increase the flow of blood to your foot.
In more severe cases of tarsal tunnel syndrome, surgery may be required. Surgery to release the flexor retinaculum may be required to relieve the pressure on the tarsal tunnel. This type of surgery is done without a stay in the hospital and usually only requires a local anesthetic . Unfortunately the results are not guaranteed; symptoms may continue for several months and/or return. As well, recovery time can be a few weeks or months and can disrupt your work, hobbies and daily activities.