Tibial Nerve Dysfunction

Tibial nerve dysfunction is a condition that causes the loss of movement or sensation in the lower leg and foot. This condition occurs as a result of damage to the tibial nerve, a branch of the sciatic nerve, which supplies movement and sensation to the muscles of the calf and foot. Tibial nerve damage may be caused by trauma, nerve pressure, or nerve compression, and individuals with diabetes may be at risk for developing tibial nerve damage. Damage to the tibial nerve may destroy the myelin sheath that protects and insulates nerve cells, resulting in reduced or impaired movement impulses.

Symptoms of Tibial Nerve Dysfunction

Symptoms of tibial nerve dysfunction may include numbing, burning, or tingling sensations on the bottom of the foot. Additional symptoms may include:

  • Pain on the bottom of the foot
  • Weak foot muscles
  • Weakness of the toes and ankles

Most individuals with tibial nerve dysfunction also experience difficulty with walking.

Diagnosis of Tibial Nerve Dysfunction

To diagnose tibial nerve dysfunction, a neuromuscular examination is performed. Additional tests may include:

  • EMG
  • Blood tests
  • Nerve conduction tests
  • Nerve biopsy

Imaging tests such as ultrasound or an MRI scan may also be performed.

Treatment of Tibial Nerve Dysfunction

Treatment for tibial nerve dysfunction focuses on reducing discomfort and restoring strength and mobility to the foot. Pain medication may be prescribed and physical therapy can help individuals to to regain muscle strength. In severe cases, surgery may be performed to enlarge the tarsal tunnel or remove lesions that may be pressing on the tibial nerve.

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