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Building From the Bottom Up
I caught up with my dear friend Honora Wolfe, in her Colorado painting studio where, if she is not praying in Bhutan or doing charitable work in a Nepali free clinic, she spends most of her time now.
Why Young People Need Chiropractic Now More Than Ever
According to a recent study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, "It is now widely acknowledged that neck pain (NP), mid back pain (MBP), and low back pain (LBP) (spinal pain) start early in life and that the lifetime prevalence increases rapidly during adolescence to reach adult levels at the age of 18."
Finders Keepers: The Secret to Relationship-Based Marketing
Becoming a successful practitioner has less to do with what you learned in school, and more to do with your ability to find new patients and keep them!
Peer Points: Always Seeking To Grow
Ellen "Kiki" Geary has spent the last decade honing her craft. As a specialist in integrative holistic care, she went straight from completing her master's degree in acupuncture and chinese herbal medicine from Bastyr University to building a successful and thriving practice in the small community of Anacortes, Washington.
9 Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance and How You Can Help
How you sleep, how easily you wake up, and how much energy and stamina you have during the day are directly related to levels of the thyroid hormones.
Don't Turn a 2 Into a 10
The Wong-Baker FACES Pain Rating Scale1 is so useful because it can be used by almost anyone. Patients can use the numbers associated with the faces depicted on the scale or select the face that demonstrates their current level of pain from 0-10.
A History Worth Telling
The popularity and the use of acupuncture for the treatment of animals in the United States is at its peak.
News in Brief
National Chiropractic Health Month: Be Proactive; Collegiate Roundup: Academic Appointments at Parker, Logan.
Pain Underfoot: Metatarsalgia
Foot pain can interfere significantly with normal activities and severely limit participation in sports. Metatarsalgia is foot pain involving the metatarsal bones in the forefoot – the complaint of pain on the bottom of the ball of the foot.
New Medical Technologies You Need to Know
We're all familiar with how fast computers become obsolete, as well as the rapid pace of development in the field of cell phone technology. The latest smart phones are far more powerful than desktop computers were only a few years ago.
A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry
Before I begin any discussion of how to talk about the effects of acupuncture on brain chemistry, nervous and endocrine function, it is essential to understand just what physicians most need help with.
Chiropractic Research in Review
Chiropractic Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis; Cost / Benefit Analysis: Different Doses of SMT for Low Back Pain; Imaging for Occult Rib and Costal Cartilage Fractures; Treating Neck Pain: Thoracic Thrust Manipulation vs. Non-Thrust Mobilization.
A Chinese Medicine Story: An Interview with Mazin Al-Khafaji
Mazin Al-Khafaji's work has interested me for years. In February 2014, we invited him for the second time to speak at the Southwest Symposium in Austin, Texas.
Waking Up the Gluteus Maximus
In previous articles in this series, we expounded on the importance of the gluteus maximus (GM) in athletic performance and protecting the knee from injury. We also know there is a link between iliotibial band syndrome and GM weakness.
CCE Finally Takes a "Baby Step" Toward Reform
During a 16-month period from October 2010 to February 2012, I devoted four separate columns to the heavy-handed attempt by the Council on Chiropractic Education to radically change the chiropractic profession through the accreditation process.
A Vibrating Capsule for Constipation? Relevance to Your Chiropractic Practice
The relationship between gastrointestinal (GI) complaints and back pain is not typically written about or discussed.
MPA Media Wins 7 Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Dynamic Chiropractic and DC Practice Insights, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecedented seven publishing awards by the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE), the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
December, 2006, Vol. 06, Issue 12
Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
Most people are aware of carpal tunnel syndrome as a common nerve entrapment problem in the wrist and hand. There is a similar type of nerve entrapment in the ankle, which is not as common.Entrapment of the tibial nerve as it passes through a tunnel on the medial side of the ankle is called tarsal tunnel syndrome.
Nerve entrapment syndromes don't occur with as much frequency in the lower extremity as they do in the upper extremity. As a result, tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS) is considered by some to be a rare condition, leading to it being frequently overlooked as a source of foot pain.1 The location of pain on the plantar surface of the foot produced by TTS also might cause it to be mistaken for plantar fasciitis. TTS also can be mistaken for proximal nerve compression pathologies, such as herniated discs in the lumbar region.
As the tibial nerve exits the deep posterior compartment, it passes around the medial side of the ankle on its way to termination in the toes. Near the medial malleolus, it divides into three branches. Just after it divides into these three branches, they all pass under a fascial band on the medial side of the ankle called the flexor retinaculum (Figure 1). The retinaculum is connected superiorly to the medial malleolus and inferiorly to the medial side of the calcaneus. The space under the retinaculum is the tarsal tunnel. There are several other structures that pass through the tunnel, including the tendons of tibialis posterior, flexor digitorum longus and flexor hallucis longus, and the posterior tibial artery and vein.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome results when the tibial nerve or its branches are exposed to compressive or tensile stress within the tarsal tunnel. Nerve compression occurs from pressure outside the tunnel such as a direct blow to the medial side of the ankle or from force within the tunnel from synovial ganglions or bony prominences.2,3
A swelling of synovial tendon sheaths (tenosynovitis) also could compress the tibial nerve.
Tensile forces on the tarsal tunnel nerves also cause symptoms. Neural tension results from either a sudden or chronic stretch of the nerve. Sudden nerve stretch happens in acute injuries while chronic stretching results from postural distortions such as a calcaneal valgus foot alignment.
Peripheral neuropathies like TTS can be linked to systemic disorders such as diabetes, muscular sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and hyperthyroidism.4 Note that some medications might cause sensitivity in the distal lower extremity nerves that could be mistaken for compression pathologies in the tarsal tunnel.
Identifying the Condition
A client with TTS reports sharp, shooting pain sensations around the medial ankle and along the plantar surface of the foot. In addition to pain, there might be paresthesia, numbness or motor weakness in the muscles of the foot. Symptoms ordinarily are worse after long periods of standing or walking, but also might be aggravated during the night if the nerve is in a compromised position for prolonged periods. Ask about recent trauma involving sudden compressive or tensile loads on the nerve, as recent injuries might be responsible for the symptoms. It's important to ask about systemic disorders that might cause TTS, or be related to it.
There are no clear visible signs of tarsal tunnel syndrome, but certain postural disorders such as calcaneal varus or valgus can aggravate the condition. Although uncommon, if TTS is severe or has been present for a long time some atrophy of the muscles innervated by the divisions of the tibial nerve might be apparent. Placing pressure directly on the tarsal tunnel is one of the most valuable ways of identifying this condition and is sometimes called the tarsal compression test. If the pressure reproduces the client's primary pain or other neurological sensations, it's a good indication of tarsal tunnel syndrome.
A special orthopedic test called the dorsiflexion-eversion test also is used to identify the condition. In this test, the client is in a supine position. The ankle is passively moved into maximum dorsiflexion and eversion while the toes are held in hyperextension (Figure 2). The position is held for five to 10 seconds. If symptoms develop, it's a positive sign of TTS.
Identifying nerve compression pathologies like TTS is important so proper treatment can be administered. If the client reports foot pain, there might be a tendency to use additional pressure around the ankle or foot in an effort to "work it out." This would be a mistake with a nerve compression pathology like TTS. Accurate identification will guide the most appropriate treatment.
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
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