The tibial nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve, which commences in the lower back and extends to the legs. One of its functions is to convey signals related to movement and sensation to the lower leg and feet. Sometimes, this nerve may suffer damage from an injury or specific health conditions, and can lead to symptoms such as nerve pain, and movement difficulty. After diagnosing the underlying cause of the nerve dysfunction, the doctor will recommend appropriate treatment to relieve symptoms and improve patient’s mobility.
The tibial nerve is an offshoot of the sciatic nerve, and courses down the leg along the back of the knee joint. It innervates or provides nerve connections to the calf and lower leg muscles that are used in activities such as walking, standing, running, and jumping. Subsequently, it proceeds to the ankle and then to the foot, where it splits to form medial and lateral plantar nerves.
As the tibial nerve conducts signals involved in sensation and movement of the leg and foot, damage to the nerve can impact these functions. Malfunctioning of the nerve is considered to be a type of peripheral neuropathy. The nerve may suffer damage due to a fracture or trauma to the knee or the lower leg. In some cases, the nerve might be subjected to pressure from a tumor or cyst in the lower leg region.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which is an affliction of the foot, might result from compression of the tibial nerve located in a confined space on the inner part of the ankle. Sometimes the functioning of the nerve could be affected due to certain diseases. For instance, diabetes is one of the disorders that can cause nerve damage.
Damage may also occur in the myelin sheath of the nerve or in the nerve cell. Harm to the tibial nerve can impair the transmission of impulses. It could cause pain, numbness or a tingling sensation in the foot. The patient may experience debility in knee or foot area and have trouble walking. The degree of the loss of movement or sensation depends on the severity of the nerve damage.
Typically, a doctor may perform a physical examination, consider the symptoms, and call for tests to diagnose nerve damage. The doctor may indicate treatment depending on the reason for the impairment of the nerve. The treatment prescribed could include medication to ease the nerve pain. Sometimes, physical therapy, and occupational therapy may be advised.
People who experience urinary urgency or incontinence are sometimes recommended tibial nerve stimulation treatment. Typically, this procedure involves the use of low-frequency electrical stimulation on the tibial nerve about the ankle, which in turn conveys the impluses to a set of nerves that control bladder function. This procedure may be performed in the doctor’s office, and could benefit those with overactive bladder problems.