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Sinus tarsi syndrome

Sinus tarsi syndrome is a painful condition that affects the outside of the ankle. Sinus tarsi syndrome is associated with trauma, in particular ankle sprain, it is also associated with over-pronation of the foot, as well as inflammatory conditions.

What is sinus tarsi syndrome?

Sinus tarsi syndrome produces pain on the outside of the ankle. The sinus tarsi is a small hollowed out space between the calcaneus (heel bone) and the talus (ankle bone), which together form the subtalar joint. Inside the space that is the sinus tarsi is fat and fibrous connective tissue (ligaments), which in some people can become inflamed and this then causes pain.

What causes sinus tarsi syndrome?

Sinus tarsi syndrome is typically the result of a sprained ankle or overuse, which puts extra stress on the fibrous tissue within the sinus tarsi, particularly in those whose feet over-pronate. Feet that over-pronate put pressure on the sinus tarsi, which is compressed in an over-pronated foot.

Other causes of sinus tarsi syndrome include inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

What are the signs and symptoms of sinus tarsi syndrome?

The signs and symptoms of sinus tarsi syndrome include:

  • Pain that is localised (isolated to a specific spot). The pain may be worse when the subtalar joint (the joint of the calcaneus and talus) is moved, therefore walking and other activities will be uncomfortable and painful
  • The pain may occur following an ankle sprain
  • The foot may over-pronate

How is sinus tarsi syndrome diagnosed?

Sinus tarsi syndrome is diagnosed based on a thorough history, the signs and symptoms and an examination, which would include re-creating the painful symptoms by pressing firmly on the sinus tarsi.

Benefits of podiatry for sinus tarsi syndrome

If you have sinus tarsi syndrome podiatry can help you. The following is a list of benefits that may be achieved following assessment and treatment for sinus tarsi syndrome at

  • Reduction in pain
  • Reduction in inflammation
  • Improvement in foot function
  • Improvement in gait
  • Improved posture
  • Improvement in muscle strength
  • Reduction in muscle tightness
Treatment benefits for sinus tarsi syndrome are achieved a number of ways, the first stage of which is to reduce inflammation. Inflammation is the cause of the pain that is experienced, therefore, by reducing the inflammation pain is reduced.

If biomechanical dysfunction is contributing to your symptoms you may be prescribed orthoses , or exercises, or a combination of the two. The aim of orthoses is to improve any biomechanical dysfunction that has caused you to develop sinus tarsi syndrome. By improving foot and lower limb mechanics gait and posture is improved, symptoms do not return, and you remain pain free.

What would podiatry for sinus tarsi syndrome involve?

Podiatry for sinus tarsi syndrome would involve obtaining a thorough history, a personal account of the problem, an examination and a biomechanical assessment. The purpose of the biomechanical assessment is to assess how the foot and the lower limb are functioning, the aim of which is to correct any abnormal biomechanics that are contributing to your painful symptoms with an orthotic.

Upon a diagnosis of sinus tarsi syndrome your podiatrist may recommend one or more of the following treatments, the aim of which is to reduce any pain and inflammation:


Sinus tarsi syndrome is a painful condition that affects the outside of the ankle, the condition is associated with previous ankle sprains, over-pronation and inflammatory conditions.

The sinus tarsi is a small space in between the heel bone and the ankle bone. Inside the sinus tarsi are ligaments that can become inflamed and when this happens a person will experience pain, particularly upon movement.

Podiatry can help alleviate any painful symptoms associated with sinus tarsi syndrome by decreasing the pressure being placed upon the ligaments within the sinus tarsi and reducing any inflammation.

To arrange an assessment with one our podiatrists please email or call 0330 088 4222.

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