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Disease Profile

Tarsal tunnel syndrome

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Posterior Tibial Nerve Neuralgia; Neuropathy of the posterior tibial nerve and its branches


Musculoskeletal Diseases


Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a nerve disorder that is characterized by pain in the ankle, foot, and toes. This condition is caused by compression of the posterior tibial nerve, which runs through a canal near the heel into the sole of the foot. When tissues around this nerve become inflamed, they can press on the nerve and cause the pain associated with tarsal tunnel syndrome.[1]


The symptoms of tarsal tunnel syndrome can vary from person to person. The most common symptom of tarsal tunnel syndrome is foot and ankle pain. Individuals may also experience a burning or tingling sensation and numbness.[2] These symptoms may occur when a person stands, walks, or wears a particular type of shoe.[1] Pain usually worsens during walking and is relieved by rest.[1]


There are a variety of factors that may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome. These may include repetitive stress with activities, trauma (e.g., crush injury, stretch injury, fractures, ankle dislocations or sprains), flat feet, and excess weight. Additionally, any lesion that occupies space within the tarsal tunnel region may cause pressure on the nerve and subsequent symptoms. Examples include tendonitis, hematoma, tumor, varicose veins, and lower extremity edema.[2]


While we do not provide medical advice, the following have been reported as treatment options for tarsal tunnel syndrome.[2] Individuals should discuss the various treatment options with their personal healthcare provider.

  • Rest and ice
  • Oral pain medications
  • Steroid injections
  • Local anesthetics
  • Physical therapy
  • Immobilization
  • Orthotic devices
  • Decompression surgery
  • Learn more

    These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

    Where to Start

    • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
    • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

    In-Depth Information

    • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
    • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
    • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Tarsal tunnel syndrome. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


    1. Whitney KA. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook. December 2012; https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/bone_joint_and_muscle_disorders/foot_problems/tarsal_tunnel_syndrome.html. Accessed 3/30/2015.
    2. Tarsal tunnel syndrome. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons Web site. February 1, 2004; https://www.footphysicians.com/footankleinfo/tarsal-tunnel-syndrome.htm. Accessed 2/26/2008.
    3. Persich G, Touliopoulos S. Tarsal tunnel syndrome. Medscape Reference. April 23, 2014; https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1236852-overview. Accessed 3/30/2015.
    4. Kennedy JG. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). 2012; https://www.rarediseases.org/rare-disease-information/rare-diseases/byID/370/viewAbstract. Accessed 3/30/2015.

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