The peroneal nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve that runs down the exterior of the inferior leg. It is responsible for serving the peroneal muscles that helps pull the foot upwards and inwards. If an injury to the peroneal nerve is suspected, it is vital that the individual will consult a doctor for proper assessment of the condition as well as start the appropriate treatment.
What are the symptoms?
The signs and symptoms of nerve injury or peroneal neuropathy usually include tickly sensation or lack of sensation in the anterior and sides of the inferior leg. In most cases, there is diminished sensitivity when these areas are touched. There is weakness in lifting the foot upwards and turning it outwards. In severe cases, foot drop can occur in which the foot could not be lifted up enough to clear the floor when the individual is walking. Slapping gait can be seen as the foot slaps on the ground when walking.
Causes of peroneal nerve injury
The nerve can be injured in a number of ways including damage to the exterior part of the knee in which the nerve is situated nearby the skin. Other factors such as swelling, inflammation or infection can also cause damage to the peroneal nerve as well as constant pressure placed on the exterior part of the knee when the individual sits with the legs crossed when wearing tight clothing.
Other injuries that can lead to nerve injury include a dislocated knee or a fracture of the fibula. In some cases, damage can also occur during surgical procedures. It is important to note that similar symptoms can also be present due to compression of the nerve at a higher level, typically at the nerve root in the lumbar spine or in the buttocks.
The treatment for peroneal nerve injury usually depends on the exact cause of the injury. The symptoms that were caused by an acute injury to the exterior knee can resolve once the knee injury has healed and any pressure or swelling on the nerve has dispersed. In case the injury was caused by constant compression, this should be dealt with first. To learn to recognize and manage the symptoms of peroneal nerve injury, register for first aid training today.
The symptoms that were caused by damage to the nerve itself are difficult to manage but in most cases except very severe ones, the damage usually heals itself but it is a very slow process. In the meantime, physical therapy can be useful in improving the muscle strength and control. The individual should also perform certain exercises. There are also exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles in the lower leg which helps improve the condition.