Radiofrequency Nerve Ablation for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
We recommend radiofrequency nerve ablation as the non-surgical treatment of choice for tarsal tunnel syndrome. Radiofrequency nerve ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses high frequency radiowaves that cause heat disruption to the tibial nerve. This interferes with the nerves ability to transmit pain signals thus the nerve is no longer able to transmit pain. Radiofrequency nerve ablation is a recognised treatment that has been used in medicine for many years, mostly for chronic back pain, heart disorders and various types of heel pain.
The procedure is minimally invasive and is performed under local anaesthetic to numb the local area where the radiofrequency probe is introduced. We perform this procedure under ultrasound guidance to ensure correct placement of the probe. The probe tip produces heat to a very targeted are and at a controlled temperature that avoids damage to the tibial nerve and other structures around the nerve.
After the procedure
As the procedure is minimally invasive, recovery is relatively fast. Following the procedure a light dressing is applied. You can return to weightbearing in regular footwear such as a trainer. It is advised to minimise your activity levels for the first 48 hours after the procedure and to take a short course of basic pain medication to minimise post-op discomfort such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.
Why we like this option
Radiofrequency nerve ablation is an excellent treatment option for tarsal tunnel syndrome as it is proven to be effective, minimally invasive, the recovery is fast, and involves minimal risks. It can be used as an alternative option to surgical decompression or as a backup option for surgical cases that have not resolved. Indeed, a study published in 2014 demonstrated nerve ablation to be effective in cases of failed surgical decompression that had not responded to previous conventional treatments.
If you’re suffering from tarsal tunnel syndrome and wonder whether this treatment might be suitable for you then give us a call to discuss on 01225 983528 or schedule a call via the button below.
What is tarsal tunnel syndrome?
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a poorly recognised and often misdiagnosed condition involving injury to the tibial nerve. It that can present as heel pain and is thus misdiagnosed as plantar fasciitis. It can also cause pain within the tarsal tunnel located on the inside of the ankle. The tarsal tunnel is a specific part of the foot and ankle anatomy where many structures pass through including blood vessels,tendons and nerves.
What causes tarsal tunnel syndrome?
In tarsal tunnel syndrome the tibial nerve becomes either entrapped, compressed or irritated. This can be a result of trauma, anatomical abnormalities such as a cyst compressing the nerve, excessive swelling of the ankle, or biomechanical abnormalities such as excessively flat or high arched feet.
What are the symptoms or tarsal tunnel syndrome?
Typically, tarsal tunnel may present as:
Burning or electrical shock type pain in the heel, inside of the ankle, or sole of the foot
Tingling or pin and needles in the foot/ankle
Sensation of coldness in the affected foot
Weakening of the foot muscles
Pain at night whilst resting
How is tarsal tunnel syndrome treated?
There are a limited number of treatment options for tarsal tunnel syndrome and many patients with this condition end up requiring surgical intervention to release pressure around the nerve. Decompression surgery generally has favourable results however some patients have ongoing symptoms despite undergoing surgery. Traditional non-surgical treatments include neuropathic pain medication, corticosteroid injection, orthotics, and range of motion exercises usually provided by a physiotherapist. Generally, non-surgical treatment has low success rates.