Peroneal Nerve Injury
A peroneal nerve injury is damage to the nerve on the outer part of the lower knee. This nerve sends impulses to and from the leg, foot, and toes. Damage can cause weakness, numbness, and pain. It may also make it hard for a person to lift their foot.
The nerve may get injured due to:
- A broken leg
- A knee injury
- Surgery to the leg or knee
- Ankle injuries
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Too much pressure on the nerve can also cause this problem. This can happen due to:
- Sitting position
- A leg cast that is too tight
- Blood clots, tumors, or other masses
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
- Recent trauma to the leg
- Having a cast on a leg
- Too much sitting with crossed legs
- Being on bedrest
- Being very thin
A person with a peroneal nerve injury may have:
- Numbness or a feeling of pins and needles in the lower leg
- Pain in the foot or shin
- A weak foot
The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam that focuses on the leg will be done.
Pictures of the leg may be taken. This can be done with:
The nerves and muscles may be tested. This can be done with electromyography (EMG) or other nerve conduction tests.
Treatment depends on what has caused the injury. Options are:
- Therapy to build leg and foot muscles
- A supportive device, such as an ankle or foot brace to ease symptoms
People who are not helped by other methods may need surgery to take pressure off the nerve.
People may be able to lower the risk of a peroneal nerve injury by:
- Not crossing their legs.
- Not putting pressure on the back or side of the knee.
- Getting treated for leg injuries right away.
- Getting treated for any numbness or tingling from wearing a cast.
- Entrapment mononeuropathies. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/entrapment-mononeuropathies.
- Foot drop information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Foot-Drop-Information-Page.
- Mononeuropathies. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/peripheral-nervous-system-and-motor-unit-disorders/mononeuropathies.
- Rimas Lukas, MD
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