Site Map

Common peroneal nerve dysfunction

Neuropathy - common peroneal nerve; Peroneal nerve injury; Peroneal nerve palsy; Fibular neruopathy

Common peroneal nerve dysfunction is damage to the peroneal nerve leading to loss of movement or sensation in the foot and leg.

Images

Common peroneal nerve dysfunction

I Would Like to Learn About:

Causes

The peroneal nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve, which supplies movement and sensation to the lower leg, foot and toes. Common peroneal nerve dysfunction is a type of peripheral neuropathy (damage to nerves outside the brain or spinal cord). This condition can affect people of any age.

Dysfunction of a single nerve, such as the common peroneal nerve, is called a mononeuropathy. Mononeuropathy means the nerve damage occurred in one area. Certain body-wide conditions can also cause single nerve injuries.

Damage to the nerve disrupts the myelin sheath that covers the axon (branch of the nerve cell). The axon can also be injured, which causes more severe symptoms.

Common causes of damage to the peroneal nerve include the following:

Common peroneal nerve injury is often seen in people:

Symptoms

When the nerve is injured and results in dysfunction, symptoms may include:

Exams and Tests

The health care provider will perform a physical exam, which may show:

Tests of nerve activity include:

Other tests may be done depending on the suspected cause of nerve dysfunction, and the person's symptoms and how they develop. Tests may include blood tests, x-rays and scans.

Treatment

Treatment aims to improve mobility and independence. Any illness or other cause of the neuropathy should be treated. Padding the knee may prevent further injury by crossing the legs, while also serving as a reminder to not cross your legs.

In some cases, corticosteroids injected into the area may reduce swelling and pressure on the nerve.

You may need surgery if:

Surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve may reduce symptoms if the disorder is caused by pressure on the nerve. Surgery to remove tumors on the nerve may also help.

CONTROLLING SYMPTOMS

You may need over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers to control pain. Other medicines that may be used to reduce pain include gabapentin, carbamazepine, or tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline.

If your pain is severe, a pain specialist can help you explore all options for pain relief.

Physical therapy exercises may help you maintain muscle strength.

Orthopedic devices may improve your ability to walk and prevent contractures. These may include braces, splints, orthopedic shoes, or other equipment.

Vocational counseling, occupational therapy, or similar programs may help you maximize your mobility and independence.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Outcome depends on the cause of the problem. Successfully treating the cause may relieve the dysfunction, although it may take several months for the nerve to improve.

If nerve damage is severe, disability may be permanent. The nerve pain may be very uncomfortable. This disorder does not usually shorten a person's expected lifespan.

Possible Complications

Problems that may develop with this condition include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of common peroneal nerve dysfunction.

Prevention

Avoid crossing your legs or putting long-term pressure on the back or side of the knee. Treat injuries to the leg or knee right away.

If a cast, splint, dressing, or other pressure on the lower leg causes a tight feeling or numbness, call your provider.

Related Information

Peripheral neuropathy
Mononeuropathy
Multiple mononeuropathy
Myelin
Broken bone
Decreased alertness
Anorexia
Diabetes and nerve damage
Polyarteritis nodosa
Numbness and tingling
Weakness
Muscle function loss

References

Katirji B. Disorders of peripheral nerves. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 107.

King JC. Peroneal neuropathy. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD Jr, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 75.

BACK TO TOP

Review Date: 8/7/2017  

Reviewed By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, SUNY Stony Brook, School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

ADAM Quality Logo

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, for Health Content Provider (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2019 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.