Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

Loading

Medial and Lateral Plantar Nerve Entrapment

By

Kendrick Alan Whitney

, DPM, Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine

Last full review/revision Dec 2019| Content last modified Dec 2019
Click here for Patient Education
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: Click here for the Consumer Version
Topic Resources

Medial and lateral plantar nerve entrapment is symptomatic compression of the medial and/or lateral branches of the posterior tibial nerve at the medial heel and proximal arch. Diagnosis is clinical. Treatment involves orthotics and immobilization.

Symptoms of medial and lateral plantar nerve entrapment include almost constant pain, with and without weight bearing, which helps to differentiate medial and lateral plantar nerve entrapment from plantar fasciosis. The pain of plantar nerve entrapment is often chronic, intractable, and aggravated by high-impact activities such as running. However, simple standing is often difficult. Burning, numbness, and paresthesias are usually absent.

Diagnosis

  • Clinical evaluation

Medial and lateral plantar nerve entrapment may be confused with plantar fasciosis and heel spur pain as well as tarsal tunnel syndrome. In plantar nerve entrapment, the following are often present:

  • Other signs of tarsal tunnel syndrome (eg, Tinel sign) are often absent.

  • Symptoms can be reproduced by palpation over the proximal aspect of the abductor hallucis, the origin of the plantar fascia, or both at the medial tubercle of the calcaneus.

  • With medial nerve entrapment, there is tenderness of the proximal medial arch beneath the navicular bone, sometimes with pain that radiates to the medial toes.

  • With lateral plantar nerve entrapment, there is tenderness over the plantar medial heel and abductor hallucis muscle.

Treatment

  • Orthoses, immobilization, and physical therapy

Immobilization and foot orthoses to prevent irritating motion and pressure may be helpful, as may physical therapy and cryotherapy. If these treatments are ineffective, injection with a sclerosing agent that contains alcohol or careful surgical decompression of the nerve may help relieve pain.

Click here for Patient Education
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: Click here for the Consumer Version
Professionals also read

Also of Interest

Videos

View All
How to Examine the Wrist
Video
How to Examine the Wrist
3D Models
View All
Flexor Tendon Sheaths of the Fingers
3D Model
Flexor Tendon Sheaths of the Fingers

SOCIAL MEDIA

TOP