Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome and Massage Therapy

Do you have foot pain or numbness? You could have a condition known as Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Massage Therapy and Bodywork are very effective in treating conditions arising from muscular and connective tissue abnormalities. Like many painful conditions, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome responds quite well to treatment by massage therapy and bodywork. 


What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome? 

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is the name of a painful nerve entrapment condition, in which the posterior tibial nerve is placed under abnormal pressure by the connective tissue forming the tarsal tunnel at the inside of the ankle and the other structures in that space like tendons from lower leg muscles.

When the muscle tendons passing through the tarsal tunnel become tight and enlarged, pain results from myofascial trigger points (knots) in the muscle, and pressure on the posterior tibial nerve, which passes through the tarsal tunnel.

Pain from Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is usually found in the ankle, heel, and sole of the foot. Additionally, there may be numbness or a pins and needles feeling in sole of the foot and sometimes the toes. Most of the time the symptoms are on one affected side, but may affect both sides at the same time. 


What is the cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome? 

There are a number of causes for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Some causes of this condition prevent massage therapy from being the best method of treatment. However, there are other causes of this painful syndrome that make massage therapy one of the best methods of treatment.

These causes include direct blunt trauma to the inside of the ankle near the tarsal tunnel itself; ankle sprains of the inner ankle are a common cause of this syndrome; and, this syndrome may also be caused by overuse and/or repetitive stress of the flexor muscles of the lower leg especially when fallen arches and/or over pronation is present.

Massage Therapy and Bodywork for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

There are many ways that massage therapy and bodywork can be used to treat Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. The massage therapist will employ a number of techniques to relieve the condition. For example, the massage therapist may use Neuromuscular Therapy or Trigger Point Therapy to eliminate myofascial trigger points and associated tension in the flexor muscles whose tendons pass through the tarsal tunnel.

The massage therapist could also use Deep Tissue Massage techniques to release adhesions between the flexor retinaculum forming the tarsal tunnel and the tissues passing through the tunnel.

Comprehensive treatment with massage and bodywork, in conjunction with a home program of stretching and exercise, may help to completely resolve Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.

 
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