The Causes & Symptoms of Baxter’s Nerve Entrapment

Heel pain can be the result of a few different underlying causes, but medical estimates suggest that about 20 percent of cases of chronic heel pain are the result of an issue with the calcaneal nerve, also known as the Baxter nerve. This nerve originates from the lateral plantar nerve and runs from the inside of the heel under the arch of the foot to the outer heel. When this nerve becomes damaged or compressed, it can lead to a host of uncomfortable symptoms in the heel region. Below, we take a closer look at why this condition develops and how Baxter’s nerve entrapment is typically treated.

Baxter’s Nerve Entrapment

At its core, Baxter’s nerve entrapment is caused by compression, irritation, damage or entrapment of a specific area of the calcaneal nerve. Some of the most common causes that lead to nerve irritation on the underside of your heel include:

  • Acute trauma that leads to swelling in the heel area.
  • Degenerative changes to your foot shape, like a fallen arch.
  • Repetitive strain or trauma to the heel.
  • Heel pad atrophy.
  • Poor footwear leading to excessive stress on or around the nerve.

Symptoms can vary depending on the extent of the compression you’re experiencing. Some patients will only experience mild symptoms, while others will be greatly impacted by this nerve compression. A few of the most common symptoms associated with Baxter’s nerve entrapment include pain on the underside of the heel, sensory issues like a burning or numbness sensation in the area, or tenderness in the heel region.

However, because these symptoms are typically quite similar to what you might experience if you were dealing with plantar fasciitis, it’s not uncommon for Baxter’s nerve entrapment to get misdiagnosed. Although their treatments are somewhat similar, you need to pursue a treatment plan that specifically targets the Baxter nerve for best results. If you have questions or concerns about a new or existing heel issue, set up a consultation with Dr. McDonald.

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