Health is a key thing in life. We all need to look after ourselves, and most often than not we get carried away with other facets of life, that we ignore our health. Foot health especially gets less attention, because we feel the soles of our body are built to be resilient and strong, this is however not true, as foot health is so important to keep things like tarsal tunnel syndrome at bay and also know the best shoes for tarsal tunnel syndrome.
What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?
Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition where there is damage in the posterior tibial nerve, due to constant pressure on the area. For those who do not know what their tibial nerves are, it is the segment located at the back of the leg- a branch of the sciatic nerve that rises up to the top of the popliteal fossa. Okay, some of us might not understand all these biological jargon, so to put it simply, tarsal syndrome is when some of the nerves at the back of the leg is damaged due to excess, continuous pressure.
The tarsal tunnel is a thin space located on the inside of the ankle, just next to the ankle bones. This tunnel is covered with the flexor retinaculum (a thick ligament) that keeps the things contained in the tunnel safe; things like the veins, arteries, nerves and tendons. So when the posterior tibial nerve gets damaged due to harsh squeezing or compression; it leads to symptoms that eventually turn out as tarsal tunnel syndrome.
The symptoms of tarsal tunnel stands out, and are quite easy to pick up on, because pain is something that no one can completely ignore. The symptoms are mostly felt on the inside of the ankle and the sole of the feet. For some people, it might occur in just one particular place, while for others it might spike up to other places like the heel, toes, arch and sometimes the calf.
The symptoms can start so quickly, escalating by continuous foot usage, such as running, standing, exercising and the lot of it. Symptoms include;
- Numbness of foot/affected area
- Sharp, shooting pain
- Burning sensational synonymous to an electrical shock
- Pins and needles feel
As aforementioned, these symptoms vary from one person to another; while some people may notice how quick and invasive it progresses, others may witness a slow paced and gradual symptom. The pain is spearheaded by physical activity (especially rigorous ones) and if the condition happens to be severe, the pain might be more concise while you are getting some rest or sleeping at night.
It is wise that you seek early treatment if you notice any of these signs and symptoms, because if left untreated, the condition is going to progress and might result in complete nerve damage. Also know that these symptoms mentioned are not exclusive to tarsal syndrome alone, it might easily be something like a mere muscle pull or sprain, so please check in with your doctor for proper evaluation.
What Causes Tarsal Syndrome?
Before we take a look at what footwear is appropriate for tarsal funnel, we need to have a basic understanding of what actually causes tarsal syndrome, and have a better insight in what to gun for while out shopping for our footwear. So basically we know now that tarsal syndrome is caused by anything that makes the posterior tibial nerve tight and compressed. Here are some major causes:
Especially ones like ankle sprains, which causes inflammation and swelling around the tunnel thus resulting in a compression of the target nerve (posterior tibial nerve)
No one has power or control over their physical nature, however, people with flat feet always get the short end of the stick when it comes to tarsal tunnel syndrome. This is because of the huge amount of strain and compression the tibial nerve experiences due to the outward bulging and tilting of the heel as a result of collapsed arches.
Cysts and Abnormalities
Irregular and unwanted structures such as cysts, bone spurs due to arthritis and swollen tendons can take up space and compress the nerve.
Such as arthritis and diabetes can cause inflammation and swelling, thus leading to nerve compression.
These are major causes among a few that spur the development of tarsal funnel syndrome. Ultimately making your feet hurt and sore, especially when inserted in footwear. But this pain can be relieved and reduced if only you know what to do when shopping for your footwear. People suffering from the syndrome, are not allowed the luxury to buy every and any shoe.
Factors to Consider When Buying Footwear for Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
A healthy foot needs to be able to 'free' itself; that is no excess confinement or limitation, because the foot is packed with so much working parts, like the joints, bones, muscles, tendons, connective tissues, tendons and so on, thus the need for a footwear that can allow these structures to work freely, and in harmony.
So when shopping for your footwear (especially when suffering from tarsal tunnel) here are some factors to keep in mind:
Shape of Your Feed (Width and Length)
Feet, like hands, come in varying shapes and sizes, so when you are shopping you might want to make this the first factor to consider (tarsal tunnel or not). Shoes that have less space or too much space can lead to blisters, compression and calluses; things that only worsen the tarsal tunnel syndrome. Also check the toe box segment of the shoe, if it isn’t wide enough to accommodate your toes, do not purchase such, as it might lead to other disorders like hammertoes and bunions. Always have this in mind – a shoe should conform to the shape of your foot, not the other way around.
Durability and Support
When shopping for footwear for tarsal tunnel, you want to select them based on the activity they are going to be used for, as it’s easier to test the durability. The main things to look for in this case, are quality features that make the shoe durable. For example appropriate cushioning at the base of the shoe; especially when picking a shoe for normal activities like walking. Also shoes that are waterproof are excellent, as they will not wear and tear due to moisture impact.
This is a very obvious feature when picking out footwear for tarsal tunnel, you want to go for something that’s not too heavy, and most importantly a footwear that is perfect for whatever motion they are intended for. For example running shoes are for linear motion and walking parallel. So make sure you pick a shoe that has the right amount of weight, and won’t make walking a burden, as it can add more force/pressure to your nerves and worsen things.
Go for a shoe that cushions and provides adequate support to your foot and arch. When shopping for shoes for tarsal tunnel syndrome, you want to naturally go for shoes that have tarsal tunnel syndrome shoe inserts – orthopedic shoes! Because they provide the best support for your arch, heels, tendons and all the support tissues in the foot.
Good footwear for tarsal tunnel should have a resilient outsole that provides rigid support and maintains smooth traction to avoid excess impact on the foot due to friction.
The 5 Best Shoes for Tarsal Tunnel
These are just major factors to consider when shopping for tarsal funnel syndrome footwear, however to help you understand what types of footwear’s are excellent in this case, here are five (5) shoes best for tarsal tunnel;
This athletic shoe is perfect for engaging in sports or physical activities like running, as it provides insane comfort that allows for a smooth experience with minimal pressure and ultimately less pain for an extended period of time. It is made from rubber materials and synthetic.
- Comes with an amazing orthotic insole
- Aesthetically pleasing athletic design perfect for sports
- Resilient and doesn't give in fast to wear and tear
- Has an extra depth that redeems the foot from pressure on its delicate structures
The Propet brand is an incredible choice when it comes to tarsal tunnel syndrome footwear. They offer a splendid selection of various designs of shoes that provide all the support you need, and at a budget friendly price! The Boating shoe is a top choice because it:
- Is very simply designed and provides intense comfort for the feet
- Has materials that are very durable and gives room for breathing
- Has a broad toe box that gives your feet enough room to spread and relax, taking away the pressure factor by 99% and watering down on friction
- Has flexible soles that makes walking less restricted
- Has a decent amount of traction that makes walking on surfaces like tiles, marble and other glossy surfaces easier
Designed with an ortho-cushion system, the Baton Rouge makes every step you make have a soft and less impacted landing. Here are its great features:
- Comes with a premium insole (orthotic)
- The ortho-cushion system works on a soft, rubbery and springy mechanism, thus making walking lighter and easier
- Sweat production is kept at a minimal thanks to its breathable interior
- Aesthetically built to weather all occasions
The ASICS Gel was designed with the athletic folks in mind. It sucks to be an athlete that suffers from tarsal tunnel syndrome, as footwear becomes too much of a burden, due to the nature of activity athletes engage in. the ASICS Gel, brings a good solution to the table with:
- A GEL cushioning system that gives immaculate comfort and support to the foot and arch
- Foot beds that can easily be replaced with various choices of orthotics and insoles
- Durable build, resistant to daily wear and tear
- Cool temperature, thanks to its porous mesh and synthetic uppers
Orthofeet brand continues to make some of the best footwear when it comes to tarsal tunnel, as a matter of fact, they are a top choice for so many people and it is justifiably so. The Shreveport is another excellent option to consider, it has:
- Premium insoles (orthotic)
- The signature ortho-cushion system that provides excellent foot support
- Durable materials and build that sees to an impressive performance on and off the road
All these footwear are superb for tarsal funnel, however, an overall pick will be the: