Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome Anatomy

To better understand tarsal tunnel syndrome, it helps to understand the anatomy of the ankle joint.

The ankle consists of three bones:

  • The tibia is the large, long bone in the lower leg.
  • The fibula is the thin, long bone in the lower leg.
  • The talus lies on top of the heel bone and supports the tibia.

The posterior tibial nerve travels down the back of the leg and runs between medial malleolus and the tarsal bone: this area is called the tarsal tunnel.

  • Tibia and fibula
  • Side view of ankle bones
  • Front view of ankle bones on x-ray

These three bones are bonded together by strong bands, called ligaments. The ligaments, muscles and tendons keep the bones of the ankle together during movement.

  • Inner aspect of ankle joint
  • View from behind the ankle joint
  • Outer aspect of ankle joint

Last Updated: Nov 4, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome References
  1. Gondring WH, Shields B, Wenger S. An outcomes analysis of surgical treatment of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Foot Ankle Int. 2003 Jul;24(7):545-50. [12921360]
  2. Labib SA, Gould JS, Rodriguez-del-Rio FA, Lyman S. Heel pain triad (HPT): the combination of plantar fasciitis, posterior tibial tendon dysfunction and tarsal tunnel syndrome. Foot Ankle Int. 2002 Mar;23(3):212-20. [11934063]
  3. Reade BM, Longo DC, Keller MC. Tarsal tunnel syndrome. Clin Podiatr Med Surg. 2001 Jul;18(3):395-408. [11499170]
  4. Sammarco GJ, Chang L. Outcome of surgical treatment of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Foot Ankle Int. 2003 Feb;24(2):125-31. [12627619]
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