Pinched Nerve in Ankle

One gets a pinched nerve when there is too much pressure placed on a nerve by surrounding tissues; usually cartilage, bones, tendons and muscles. There is interruption of the function on the nerve and this causes pain, weakness, tingling or numbness. The pinch can range from mild to severe, and may cause temporary or far-reaching issues

Causes of a pinched nerve in ankle

A vascular lesion, tumor, or nerve compression syndromes (Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome) damage surrounding nerves and cause the above mentioned symptoms. This is a common condition in people who have flat feet or extremely high arches. The pinch is normally caused by trauma to the foot and ankle. It is best to understand a little about Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome:

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Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

The tibial nerve is one of the nerves that serves the bottom of the foot in the tarsal tunnel. If it is pinched, then one suffers from tarsal tunnel syndrome, and this causes pinching of other nerves in the foot. Tarsal tunnel symptoms will cause symptoms that run from the ankle, right down to the bottom of the foot.

Pain and other Symptoms

  • There will be a sensation that feels like burning, tingling or electric chock
  • There will be shooting or radial pain within the ankle
  • There will be some numbness in the ankle

In some people, the pain will only be felt in the ankle area, but sometimes, the pain can extend through the calf, heel, arch and toes. The symptoms can appear suddenly, and are usually caused by any form of aggressive overextension of the foot. This can happen when you walk too much, stand for long, take on a new foot exercise, or do too much exercise.

Treatment for pinched nerve in ankle

The most common approach to treating a pinched nerve in the ankle is to reduce the compression of the nerve. The area will then heal itself over a few days or weeks.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome can be treated through a combination of treatments and these include:

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  • A lot of rest in order to avoid any further trauma while the area is healing
  • Application of an ice pack while keeping the ice within a towel or s piece of cloth for 20 minutes. This helps in numbing the area and reducing inflammation. Do so in periods of 40 minutes.
  • You can use non-steroid or anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the inflammation and pain within the ankle.
  • Local anesthetic injections can also be used to numb the area if the pain is severe; corticosteroids can also be injected for treating inflammation
  • Wearing a cast will also restrict the movement of the foot; this will help the nerve and surrounding tissue to heal.
  • You can wear orthotic devices to help on keeping the arch in the proper position and limit motion that leads to compression of the nerves. Your podiatrist will prescribe shoe inserts or supportive shoes.
  • You may also need your foot braced to reduce the pressure on the foot and ankle; this is for patients with flat foot or severe nerve damage.

Get to know about Neuromas

Another reason why there may be a pinched nerve in the foot if a neuroma. This is a tumor that grows out of a nerve and causes the pinching. In order to treat this, a visit to a podiatrist is necessary for proper diagnosis of the tumor and proper prescription of treatment. If the podiatrist confirms that you have neuroma, then you will need at-home and in-office therapies.

  • Shoes – you will be required to wear shoes that offer more room within the foot, and therefore help in absorbing chock. You may also be asked to wear low heels or padding to relieve the pain. You may also have to lace your shoes less tightly.
  • Taping and padding – this can be done to change the way that your foot moves, and hence reduce the pressure caused by the tumor. You may also have to wear small cushions or pads on the ball of your foot to relieve the pressure on the affected nerve.
  • Orthotics – these are inserts that can be worn in the shoes to lower the compression on the nerve.
  • Medications – depending on how severe the symptoms are, the podiatrist may prescribe cortisone injections, anti-inflammatory drugs, or a combination of both. You should take your medication as prescribed in order to get the best relief.
  • Surgery – this is usually the last resort, and the neurologist tries to remove the neuroma. If the symptoms keep on getting worse, and the tumor is getting bigger, surgery is the best approach. This means the removal of the enlarged and inflamed nerves brining about the pinching of the nerves in the ankle; it is a simple procedure and is done as an outpatient treatment.
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