Just like how carpal tunnel syndrome occurs due to the compression of a nerve in the hand, Baxter’s nerve entrapment syndrome occurs due to a compressed nerve in the foot. This nerve is called the inferior calcaneal nerve, and its compression is more common than you might think. In fact, it can account for up to 20% of all reported heel pain.
What causes Baxter’s nerve entrapment?
Baxter’s nerve entrapment can lead to extreme heel pain that limits mobility. It can occur due to conditions like:
- Plantar fasciitis — Plantar fasciitis refers to the inflammation of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. It can be a symptom of Baxter’s nerve entrapment. However, both Baxter’s nerve entrapment and plantar fasciitis can exist separately on their own, although the two conditions have almost identical symptoms. They can also occur at the same time. As a result, it can be difficult to isolate either diagnosis without imaging technologies like MRI.
- Bone spurs — Abnormal bone growths can often occur on the foot and lead to conditions like bunions. These masses of tissue can compress the inferior calcaneal nerve and lead to heel pain linked to nerve compression.
- Muscular hypertrophy — Muscular hypertrophy refers to an increase in muscle mass. If a muscle in the foot is overworked or overused, the muscle can enlarge and become inflamed. The enlarged muscle can irritate the surrounding nerves and lead to Baxter’s nerve entrapment.
How can you treat Baxter’s nerve entrapment?
With an early diagnosis and treatment plan, nerve damage caused by Baxter’s nerve entrapment can be reversed. Conservative treatments like the following can help manage symptoms and relieve the compressed nerve:
- Rest — Elevating the foot and refraining from overusing it can help fast-track healing and decrease inflammation around the inferior calcaneal nerve. Patients can limit weight-bearing exercise and practice gentle movements that encourage blood flow to the inflamed nerve and surrounding muscles.
- Taping — Kinesiology tape is a physical therapy technique used to secure tissue, jump-start blood flow, encourage lymph drainage and promote healing. Kinesiology tape can be strategically placed around the heel and ankle to help ease heel pain related to plantar fasciitis and nerve compression.
- Use of orthotics — Custom orthotics can help support a patient’s heel and relieve pain related to Baxter’s nerve entrapment. They can also provide shock absorption, cushioning the bottom of the foot while walking. As a result, orthotics can help increase mobility and comfort.
If symptoms persist after noninvasive therapies, then interventions like corticosteroid injections may be able to help diminish pain radiating from the nerve. If symptoms still persist, surgery may be necessary to release the nerve.
Biocorrect can help relieve your nerve pain
If you’re starting your healing journey from nerve pain, custom orthotics can help get you moving sooner. Our team of expert technicians at Biocorrect can design orthotics molded to your feet. Contact us to learn more about the orthotics we offer or to set up an initial evaluation with one of our certified pedorthists.