Four Stretches for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Did you know that stretching can help relieve tarsal tunnel syndrome?

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain, tingling, and numbness in the foot due to compression of the tibial nerve. The tibial nerve runs through the tarsal tunnel, a narrow space in the ankle, and becomes compressed when the tunnel is narrowed or something presses on the nerve.

Stretching the muscles and tendons around the tarsal tunnel can help relieve the compression and pain. But these stretches should be done carefully and under the supervision of a doctor or physical therapist to avoid further injuring the tarsal tunnel if you have severe pain or tingling.

What is the Tarsal Tunnel?

The tarsal tunnel is a passageway for the tibial nerve and the blood vessels that supply the foot. The tibial nerve branches off the sciatic nerve and runs down the back of the leg into the foot. It provides sensation to the bottom of the foot and controls the muscles that move the foot and toes.

The tarsal tunnel is formed by the ankle’s bones, ligaments, leg muscles, and tendons. It is a narrow passageway, and anything that presses on or narrows the tunnel can compress the tibial nerve and cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome explained

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when the tibial nerve is compressed as it passes through the tarsal tunnel. This can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the foot and ankle.

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be caused by various conditions, including inflammation or swelling of the ankle joint or surrounding tendons, an injury to the foot or ankle, a bone spur, or a cyst. Obesity, diabetes, and pregnancy can also contribute to tarsal tunnel syndrome.

Treatment for tarsal tunnel syndrome may include rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to release the pressure on the nerve. Stretching can also help treat tarsal tunnel syndrome.

Why Stretching Matters

Stretching the muscles and tendons around the tarsal tunnel can help relieve the pressure on the nerve and improve symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Stretching the calf muscles, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia can help ease tarsal tunnel syndrome.

The best way to stretch the muscles and tendons around the tarsal tunnel is to do it gradually and gently. You should feel a gentle stretch, but not pain. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

If you have tarsal tunnel syndrome, you may also benefit from wearing a splint at night to keep your foot in a stretched position. This can help to relieve pressure on the nerve and ease symptoms.

Doctor examining the tarsal tunnel

4 Stretches For Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Stretch #1

Start this stretch by facing a wall and placing your palms flat against it. Extend one foot behind you, keeping it straight. Lean into the wall, then bend your front leg and place more and more body weight onto your palms. Keep your back leg straight, and hold the pose for 60 seconds when you feel a stretch in your calf. If you can’t feel the stretch, move your back leg farther behind you.

Stretch #2

To stretch the soleus muscle, you’ll first bend the back leg at the knee until you feel a stretch lower in your calf. This stretch can be further facilitated by placing something underneath the toes of the back foot. Ultimately, you should aim to repeat both of these stretches three to five times during the session for three sets a day.

Stretch #3

To stretch the plantar fascia, which is the tissue that runs along the arch of the foot, simply pull your toes and the ball of your foot towards you. You should be able to see and feel the stretch. Hold for 60 seconds, repeat five times, and do this exercise three times a day.

Stretch #4

The final stretch in this series can be done by rolling the arch of your foot over a tennis ball or a can of soup. Be sure to apply enough pressure to get the full benefits of this stretch, which is similar to a massage. This will help to loosen the muscles and tendons in your foot.

Contact Us for Help With Foot and Ankle Pain

If you’ve been experiencing nerve pain and stretches for tarsal tunnel have not alleviated your discomfort, contact Dr. Gavin P. Ripp at Premier Podiatry & Orthopedics in Carmichael, CA. We can be reached at 916-961-3434, or through our online contact form. Let us help you get back on your feet!

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