My Story About Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (TTS)
Around 4 years ago I noticed that I was having a lot of feet problems, such as pain in my heels, ankles, and on the side of my feet. I was hit by a car when I was 12 years old which caused me to brush off the discomfort as being related to my previous leg and ankle trauma. However, this past summer when I was working out and running, something different happened. I could barely walk afterwards and I thought to myself this can’t be good. As a fitness coach myself, I always tell my clients to listen to their bodies. It was time for me to take my own advice.
I finally decided to go to the doctors. An x-ray at my primary physician’s office showed heel spurs in both feet. I thought to myself, okay great a plan that we can hopefully work with. My fist appointment was a referral to an orthopedic surgeon. He confirmed that I had posterior heel spurs on both feet. His initial protocol was to wear a boot for 3 to 4 weeks, and take Motrin 800mgs 2x a day.
As the weeks went by, I went back with no change. The ortho’s next recommendation was to cut the Achilles tendon off and shave off the heel spurs and do a speed bridge. A speed bridge is a procedure where they reattach your Achilles. It’s a painful surgery and a difficult surgery to recover from. I’m sitting there thinking this can’t be the only way to do this. I told him let me think about it as I have a business to run, wife and 2 crazy daughters. But they’re cute! Then I was off to do some more research.
Over the next month, I saw 3 different doctors. They all had different opinions about my problems. Finally, I was referred to a podiatrist. I shared with him what other Doctors had wanted to do and he was looking at me like I had 2 heads. This doctor was extremely thorough and wanted to try some conventional methods first. We did the x-rays again, cortisone shots, and then we finally came across an Electromyogram test (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Study. He was the only doctor that bought this up. It’s a test for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles. I went to the hospital for the test, which was not fun at all (ouch!). However, at the end of the test the doctor confirmed that my left leg had severe nerve damage and my right had slightly bad nerve damage. This confirmed that I had Tarsal Tunnel Symdrome (TTS).
This caused me to wonder what is next. I made a follow-up appointment with the podiatrist, where he suggested an MRI just to make sure we don’t miss anything. The MRI confirmed TTS. For all of this time that I have been living with nerve damage, I can’t help but think that I should have gone to the doctor 4 years ago and I may not be in this situation right now. I should have gone as soon as I was feeling something funny in my feet. Where I am at now is the big word – surgery. I tried all of the conservative treatments and unfortunately nothing worked. This is my last option for pain relief. The procedure is called tarsal tunnel release. The procedure is expected to be one and a half hours. I won’t be able to bear any weight on my left foot for at least 1 to 2 weeks. After that, I will have to wear a boot for 2 weeks. I just wanted to share this with all of my clients who are warriors who have gone through and are currently going through their own stuff as well. Follow along to see how I am recovering for the next few weeks! Catch me and my scooter at the studio soon!
I hope and pray that you will have a speedy recovery.
Hi Dan, great to see your blog following your recovery, it’s very encouraging! I have had tarsal tunnel for a year now and am still waiting for the EMG (it could be another 6 months). I am only 25 so they don’t want to opt for surgery just yet.
I wanted to ask – did you ever find that wearing shoes was painful? This is the worst bit about it for me – not being able to wear smart shoes or anything except one pair of loose trainers… Also, did you try acupuncture? Sorry for all the questions! Scarlett 🙂
how did the surgery go. I just had the same surgery. lots of pain.
Hi Faye. Thanks for reaching out. I hope that you are feeling well a few months out!! I do recall being in some pain afterwards as well. Unfortunately, the symptoms of TTS have returned. I have seen many new Doctors over the past 6 months and it looks like I will be going in for another surgery in the fall. It will be a revision surgery while hopefully adding something to combat the scar tissue that is pressing up on the nerves. Additionally, I am going to need a gastrocnemius achilles lengthening. I have learned that it is important to meet with an AENS surgeon: https://www.aens.us/aens/default.asp. I am posting a new blog tonight and will be meeting with the surgeon again in September. Will keep everyone posted. Stay positive and remain the course. This is a very trying condition.
I just had tarsal tunnel surgery 5 days ago and yes I could not wear any shoes that did not cause pain. I like you had one pair of trainers that worked that were tied loose
I wish you much success during your recovery!
I had tarsal tunnel surgery 6 weeks ago and I’m having a lot of swelling. I can’t be on my foot much at all before it begins to swell. I’ve been going to physical therapy and my physical therapist said last week that I would not be able to do any exercises because of the swelling. Is this all normal? It seems as though I’m not progressing like I thought. It seems to be slow. I have tingling in my toes and on top of my foot. Numbness in some areas.
Hi Debbie! I hope that you are starting to notice some relief. I have had some regression since my surgery in October unfortunately. I have found that when there is a flare up with swelling, I need to rest, elevate and ice.