Peroneal Nerve Injury/Palsy

Also known as: peroneal nerve injury, peroneal nerve palsy, peroneal nerve dysfunction, peroneal neuropathy

What is the peroneal nerve?

The peroneal nerve is an important nerve in the lower leg. It provides sensory input from the lateral aspect of the lower leg and the dorsum (top) of the foot. It also provides motor input to the muscles responsible for dorsiflexion (lifting the foot off of the ground) and eversion of the foot. When this nerve becomes injured, it can lead to sensation and movement problems, most commonly, a condition known as foot drop.

What causes peroneal nerve injury/palsy?

The peroneal nerve is at risk of injury because of its location near the knee joint. The more common (and less severe) forms of peroneal nerve palsy/injury are usually caused by external pressure, for instance, frequently crossing one’s legs over each other, or resting the lateral aspect of the knee against a hard surface during deep sleep or general anesthesia.

More severe forms of peroneal nerve palsy/injury are usually caused by high energy impact (for example, a knee dislocation or leg fracture from a car accident) or direct injury, such as a cut or laceration.

What are the symptoms of peroneal nerve injury/palsy?

Peroneal nerve injury, or palsy, is defined by problems in the legs and feet. These problems may include pain, loss of sensation along the lateral aspect of the leg and top of the foot, and “foot drop” (an inability to hold the foot up) where the toes drag on the ground while walking.

How can peroneal nerve injury/palsy affect children and young adults?

Peroneal nerve injury in the pediatric population is more commonly seen in teenagers and young adults than in younger people. Sports-related knee injuries, especially from football and wresting, and high-velocity knee injuries from car or recreational vehicle accidents, are the typical causative factor for peroneal nerve injury in this population.

How can peroneal nerve injury/palsy affect children and young adults?

Treatments for peroneal nerve injury or palsy may include physical therapy, orthopedic devices, occupational therapy, and other forms of counseling. In some cases, corticosteroid injections or surgery may alleviate some of the symptoms.

Reviewed by: Aaron Berger, MD

This page was last updated on: January 14, 2020 10:20 AM

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