Common Diagnoses:
Sinus Tarsi Syndrome

Overview

Sinus tarsi syndrome (STS) is a clinical condition characterized by ongoing pain in the anterior (front) lateral (side aspect) of the ankle—between the ankle and the heel—which is usually a result of traumatic injuries. The most common cause of sinus tarsi syndrome is thought to be a result of chronic or long-term ankle sprains. The condition itself is considered a syndrome; a syndrome is defined as a group of symptoms which occur together, or a condition that is characterized by a group of associated symptoms.

Symptoms

Symptoms of sinus tarsi syndrome include:

  • Chronic (long-term) pain along the front and side aspect (also called anterolateral) of the ankle
  • Pain when the foot is turned in (inversion) or turned out (eversion)
  • A feeling of instability of the foot or ankle (when bearing weight)
  • Difficulty walking on uneven surfaces (such as grass or gravel)
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness of the sinus tarsi area of the foot
  • Ecchymosis (bruising)

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Sinus Tarsi Syndrome may involve:

  • X-rays
  • A CT Scan
  • An MRI (reveals changes in the soft tissue of the sinus tarsi such as scar tissue from previous injuries)
  • An ankle arthroscopy (a narrow tube attached to a fiber-optic video camera, inserted through a very small incision [the size of a buttonhole], to view and diagnose joint problems)
    Ruling out other problems of the foot

Treatment

Conservative (non-invasive) treatment of sinus tarsi syndrome is considered “generally very effective,” according to the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (AAPSM). Conservative treatment modalities may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Steroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Orthopedic shoes to stabilize the area
  • Immobilization of the foot
  • Bracing or taping (to stabilize the area)
  • Over the counter or custom orthoses (the correction of disorders of the limbs by the use of braces and other devices to provide support)