Ultrasound examination prior to tarsal tunnel surgery

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a disorder that affects the tibial nerve or its branches: the medial plantar nerve, the lateral plantar nerve, the medial calcaneal nerve, the motor branch of the abductor muscle to the fifth toe, and the first calcaneal branch. This peripheral neuropathy is considered less common than carpal tunnel syndrome but is much more complicated to diagnose, so its true incidence may be underestimated. Diagnostic imaging can help identify the site of compression.

In the study of Iborra et al (2017), they found that regarding the location of the bifurcation of the tibial nerve, with ultrasound (US) they obtained 100% agreement between US and dissection, and 91% of tibial nerve bifurcations were in the areas corresponding to types IA and IB: 1 cm distal and 1 cm proximal to the malleolar-calcaneal axial line. The US topography and the anatomic dissection were completely correlated.

This article could be very useful for establishing a working method in the surgical setting, as the surgeon can perform a study and design the surgery with US support, observing the patientís anatomy and anatomic variations before proceeding to surgical dissection, which could prevent intraoperative complications.