The lateral plantar nerves branches off from the tibial nerve. If the lateral plantar nerve gets trapped, it results in pain, which can radiate to the lower part of heel and ankle. This condition affects around 20% of patients. Forceful or continuous activity tends to worsen the symptoms. If this condition is ignored and not treated promptly, then the continuous pressure on the nerve results in paresthesias along the plantar nerve distribution and weakness of the abductor digiti minimi muscle. Other causes for heel pain such as plantar fasciitis should be ruled out before starting treatment as the symptoms are similar.
Treatment comprises of rest, orthotics, NSAIDs, corticosteroid injections and surgery as a last resort.
About Lateral Plantar Nerve Entrapment
The lateral plantar nerves stem from the tibial nerve and goes via tarsal tunnel. After it exits the tarsal tunnel, it branches off again. Entrapment of lateral Plantar Nerves usually occurs between abductor hallucis and quadratus planus.
Symptoms of Lateral Plantar Nerve Entrapment
- Radiating pain to the heel and ankle area.
- Burning pain worsening at night.
- Acute tenderness at the region of nerve entrapment.
Treatment of Lateral Plantar Nerve Entrapment
- NSAID’s such as ibuprofen help in pain relief.
- Tape can be used to support arch of foot.
- Change of footwear mat help.
- A sports specialist can prescribe orthotics in order to rectify any overpronation.
- If the patient does not benefit from conservative treatment, then steroid injections can be given for pain relief.
- In severe cases where all the above measures have failed, a surgical procedure is done to release the nerve.