About a month ago, I accompanied a friend of mine to the podiatrist. Her foot was swollen from a sprain. The pain was so severe she had to use crutches. As she was being attended to, I took time to explore the podiatrist’s office and came across some interesting charts on the walls. These were describing different foot conditions. One of these was sinus tarsi. I took time to read the chart and learned a lot about this condition. Its symptoms were similar in a way to those on my friend. Some of the things I learned about this condition include the following.
What is sinus tarsi syndrome?
Sinus tarsi is a clinical condition that affect the sinus tarsi cavity located between the ankle and heel bone. This cavity contains ligaments and joint capsule which play a role in foot stability.
What causes this condition?
There are two main causes of this condition. The most common cause is a sprained foot where the ankle rolls out. Another common cause is repetitive strain on the ligaments in the sinus tarsi caused by walking or running on a flat foot.
Some of the factors that contribute largely to the development of sinus tarsi include muscle weakness in the foot. Inappropriate footwear with an excessively flat foot can also contribute to this condition. Poor flexibility of the foot can affect its motion which can lead to straining of ligaments in the sinus tarsi cavity. Other contributing factors include poor training and poor foot biomechanics.
Who is at risk?
Anyone can develop this condition. However, athletes are the most vulnerable as their trades usually demand abnormal twisting of the foot.
What are the symptoms?
The common symptoms of this condition are pain and swelling around the sinus tarsi cavity. The patient may also experience tenderness in the tissue around this area. Symptoms are usually more severe in the morning and will disappear as the patient walks.
How is the condition treated?
From what I learned, most patients with this condition will heal successfully when placed under a physiotherapy program. The time it takes to completely heal largely depends on the severity of the condition and patient compliance. It can take anything between a few weeks and months.
Some of the procedures involved during the physiotherapy program include the following. First, the patient is required to rest the affected foot from any activities which cause pain. This includes walking and crutches may be required. The patient then undergoes the RICE regime which includes rest, application of ice, application of pressure through compression and, elevating the affected foot. After symptoms disappear, the patient then undergoes flexibility and strengthening program where the foot is gradually reintroduced to normal activity. Other treatment options for this condition include orthoses, appropriate footwear, painkillers for the inflammation and, exercising the foot.
Only in severe cases is surgery recommended as a treatment method. In this case, the pediatrician will make their recommendation after ensuring that all possible treatment methods have been ineffective and surgery will be the only way to correct the condition.