Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ

Question:

I've had the strangest sensations in both my feet. First I had mild pain in my right ankle and foot whenever I pointed my toes down toward the floor. Then sometimes it was a feeling of numbness and tingling. I was diagnosed with tarsal tunnel syndrome (like carpal tunnel syndrome, only in the feet). Now I have the same feelings in both of my wrist and hands. Could it still be the same problem?

Answer:

Pain, numbness, and tingling in both the hands and feet are not likely caused by tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS). TTS is a compression or entrapment of the tibial nerve as it passes through a small tunnel formed by the bones of the ankle. TTS is usually only on one side and can't affect the wrist or hands.

It's usually caused by trauma or a change in the normal anatomy. For example an extra bone or thickened muscle, old or new fracture, or cyst or tumor could be putting pressure on the nerve.

As you have experienced, sometimes a problem presents one way leading to a particular diagnosis. Over time as the symptoms progress, symptoms may spread or other symptoms may start. The doctor relies on the history, physical exam, and any tests performed to sort out one problem from another. With the addition of the same symptoms somewhere else in the body, a new exam is needed.

You may have a problem called peripheral neuropathy. The means that the nerves of the hands and feet are disturbed for some reason. The doctor will have to find out what the underlying cause or reason is for your symptoms. With both hands and feet involved, a systemic source of symptoms is most likely. This could be a change in liver function, diabetes, or tumor.

It's good that you saw your doctor early on so that a baseline of symptoms was established. Now with a follow-up appointment, it may be clearer what direction to head to make a more definitive diagnosis. Mitsuo Kinoshita, MD, et al. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome in Athletes. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. August 2006. Vol. 34. No. 8. Pp. 1307-1312.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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