Sinus tarsi syndrome

Sinus tarsi syndrome

Sinus Tarsi Syndrome is a clinical disorder characterised by specific symptoms localized to the sinus tarsi. The sinus tarsi (“eye of the foot”) is a small cavity on the outside of the foot formed between the ankle (talus) and heel (calcaneus).

A neurovascular structure, tenderness and pain can be felt at the sinus tarsi. Sinus Tarsi Syndrome most commonly occurs in the following patients;

  • Flat feet – over pronation.
  • Ankle sprains – acute or chronic trauma (repetitive ankle sprains) can result to damage of ligaments and structures within the sinus tarsi causing pain.

Patients with Sinus tarsi syndrome present with localized pain in the sinus tarsi region aggravated by weight bearing activities (walking, running, jogging). Palpation by a podiatrist on the sinus tarsi will reciprocate pain and pain is usually increased when activity is performed on uneven surfaces (sand).


After a diagnosis is established, conservative treatment can be initiated which is generally effective in eliminating the symptoms and problem. At Sydney Foot Clinic the treatment options offered may include;

  • Rest and Ice – keeping off the foot and reducing activity prevents further injury and encourages healing. Ice can reduce inflammation, swelling and symptoms.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication – help reduce the pain and inflammation
  • Supportive footwear
  • Custom made orthotic therapy – orthotics may be prescribed to address any biomechanical factors such as over pronation (flat feet)
  • Immobilization – restricting movement in a brace or cast is sometime necessary to reduce symptoms and stress on the sinus tarsi
  • Injection therapy – Injections of a local anaesthetic provide pain relief, and an injected corticosteroid may be useful in treating the inflammation.

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