Pain Relief for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Pain Relief for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Everyday I get emails and calls with questions about pain, posture and how posture alignment therapy can help successfully eliminate chronic musculoskeletal pain naturally, without medication, manipulation or surgery.  Today I'd like to share a question about tarsal tunnel syndrome and foot and ankle pain relief through corrective exercise programming.  


Question:  I have tarsal tunnel syndrome. I'm doing the exercises found the book Pain Free by Pete Egoscue and am wondering how long to do the foot/ankle exercises without relief before I try another area such as hip?

Answer:  First we need to discuss what tarsal tunnel syndrome is.  The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) describes Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome as:

a compression, or squeezing, on the posterior tibial nerve that produces symptoms anywhere along the path of the nerve running from the inside of the ankle into the foot. 


Tarsal tunnel syndrome
is caused by anything that produces compression on the posterior tibial nerve, such as:
  • A person with flat feet is at risk for developing tarsal tunnel syndrome, because the outward tilting of the heel that occurs with “fallen” arches can produce strain and compression on the nerve.
  • An enlarged or abnormal structure that occupies space within the tunnel can compress the nerve. Some examples include a varicose vein, ganglion cyst, swollen tendon, and arthritic bone spur.
  • An injury, such as an ankle sprain, may produce inflammation and swelling in or near the tunnel, resulting in compression of the nerve.
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes or arthritis can cause swelling, thus compressing the nerve.


If your body is out of balance at any of the four major load joints, musculoskeletal compensations and changes in your body's function will occur.  This is how flat feet, bone spurs and swollen tendons occur.  Postural therapy is different because we address why this imbalances have occurred.

If you have been diagnosed with tarsal tunnel syndrome, posture alingment therapy is a fantastic, non-invasive technique for quickly and permanently resolving your pain.

However, if you've been doing the foot and ankle pain relief exercises from my site or out of the book Pain Free without the relief you've been looking for, my advise is not to give up so quick!  If you do not feel a reduction in pain, and increased mobility right away, then you are most likely treating your symptom versus the root cause.

Pain is a signal!   You were right to reach out because your body is telling you something.  Here are 5 Reasons why you might not be experiencing pain relief.

1.  Rule out Systemic Disease | First and foremost, ensure that there is nothing systemically wrong.  If you have not seen a doctor for this condition, be sure you cross that off the list.

2.  Treat the Body as a Unit | Aside from an acute traumatic injury, tarsal tunnel is most often caused by poor musculoskeletal alignment and function of the ankle in relationship to the rest of the body.  

Postural therapy works best when you address the body as a unit. My guess is that you are addressing the symptom (tarsal tunnel pain) versus the root cause (identifying and correcting the musculoskeletal imbalances throughout the body which resulted in why the tarsal tunnel compression occurred in the first place).  Advise:  Re-read chapters 1-3 in the book Pain Free.  It will help you understand the posture to pain connection.  Your pain may have more to do with a hip or knee dysparity for example.   

3.  Evaluate your Posture | If you're not sure what to do, or what to look for, Download our FREE POSTURE ASSESSMENT GUIDE.    

4.  Incorrect Technique | Without working with a Certified Posture Alignment Specialist, you may be experiencing "posture distortion".  Posture distortion occurs when your personal perception of how you are doing a movement does not match up with the correct execution of the movement.  Advise:  book a session with a Certified Posture Alignment Specialist who can instruct and assess your movements. 

5.  Invest in your Health | Hiring a posture and pain professional who know's how to put the whole puzzle together for you.  Posture Alignment Therapy is just one option of corrective exercise options available to you.  You may also need some SMR, also known as self myo-fascial release for the area, which Postural therapy does not offer.  Self-myofascial release for the ankle and foot is often required to truly address the compression of the tissues in the area so that is worth investigating as well. 

No matter which modality you choose to go with, a Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist will analyze your posture, identify compensations and dysfunctions at the 4 major-load joints, and how to put together a comprehensive menu of corrective exercises to suit YOUR specific postural needs.  Free exercises are great, but if they're not working, something might be missing.


I hope that helps direct you.  Do you have a questions for the Posture Pro?  We want to hear from you!