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Peroneal & Tibial Nerve Dysfunction & Running

By Joseph McAllister

Many people enjoy running to control their weight, improve their cardiovascular conditioning, tone their muscles and reduce stress. Unfortunately, running is considered a high-impact physical activity and can be hard on the body -- it can even lead to physical symptoms such as nerve problems. The peroneal and tibial nerves can both be vulnerable to adverse effects from running.

Peroneal Nerve

Pain of the peroneal nerve can be a somewhat common complaint in runners or in athletes who run extensively. The pain is normally focused just below the knee, along the shin or on top of the foot. In many cases, running, walking or especially squatting will make the pain grow stronger. Other symptoms may include muscle weakness and a tingling or electrical feeling in the affected area when it is touched.

Peroneal Nerve Treatment

Proper treatment for a pain in the peroneal nerve can vary widely, so you should visit your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Mild cases may only require rest to heal, possibly accompanied by steroid injections for the pain. You may need to wear an ankle splint during this healing period. If your symptoms persist beyond three months, however, you may need surgery to repair the nerve, according to the New York University Medical Center.

Tibial Nerve

The tibial nerve begins at the inside of the leg and extends down to the ankle and finally, the middle arch of the foot. The tibial tendon maintains and supports the arch. A compression of the tibial nerve is referred to as tarsal tunnel syndrome. The condition is often characterized by pain or tingling on the inside of the ankle and the bottom of the foot.

Tibial Nerve Treatment

You should visit your doctor immediately if you experience tibial nerve pain, since delaying treatment can lead to permanent damage, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. To treat the symptoms of tibial nerve inflammation, eliminate the aggravating activity, ice the area twice a day for at least 20 minutes and take anti-inflammatory medications. Many people also find custom-made shoes helpful in reducing their pain. In severe cases, surgery may be required.

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