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  • Writer's pictureCarter Cote

Examination and Treatment for Sinus Tarsi Syndrome

Updated: Sep 15, 2019

Individuals with anterolateral ankle pain likely suffer from Sinus Tarsi Syndrome, a common diagnosis for hikers and athletes that suffer injuries during their respective activities.

What Is It?

Sinus tarsi syndrome describes the pain and tenderness of the lateral side of the hindfoot, between the ankle and the heel. According to Foot and Ankle Clinics, the pain results from injury to the ligaments of the ankle, and instability of the joint. Locating the painful area and feelings of instability with pronation and supination movements of the subtalar joint are great methods that help identify STS. Other common symptoms include swelling, tenderness, ecchymosis, feelings of instability, or difficulty walking on uneven surfaces. The most common cause is a result of chronic or long-term ankle sprains. Other probable causes include progressive and/or irreversible deterioration of tissue, cysts, or a severely pronated foot (inflicts pressure on the sinus tarsi). With a proper diagnosis, imaging demonstrates that the ligaments and soft tissues in the sinus tarsi are injured, while also revealing changes in the soft tissue of the sinus tarsi.

Today, I observed a patient that was diagnosed with the clinical disorder, and it accompanied his heel spur and his ankle sprain. These injuries were a result of an injury that the patient suffered on a hike. Dr. Levy treated the affected area with 3mg of a cortisone shot, an anti-inflamatory, in order to relieve the patient from pain and inflammation. In addition, the patient was given an ankle foot strap to limit inversion of the affected foot, which enhances subtalar joint stability. Instead of advising the surgical route, Levy vouched for the non-invasive and safer route, where he instead submitted a request for physical therapy. For sinus tarsi syndrome, surgery is usually considered a last resort when all other non-invasive treatments are ineffective in proper recovery.

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