Symptoms of Peroneal Nerve Injury

Peroneal nerve injury symptoms may include pain, numbness, tingling sensations, and weakness in areas of the shin or top of the foot affected by injury; loss of ability to move a foot; inability to point toes upward or lift ankle up (dorsiflexion); a distinctive gait (foot drop gait). 

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What is the Peroneal Nerve?

The common peroneal nerve, a branch of the sciatic nerve, is responsible for providing sensation to the front and sides of the legs as well as the tops of the feet. In addition, it governs the muscle movements that allow us to lift our ankles and toes up (dorsiflexion). A mild injury to this nerve can cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness. More serious injuries may manifest in a form of gait disorder called 'foot drop', which leaves people unable to flex their foot upward at their ankle. Foot drop is also a possible outcome of other conditions including herniated discs.

What are the Most Common Causes of Peroneal Nerve Injury?

Peroneal nerve damage is generally caused by trauma, dislocation of the knee or fracture of the leg/hip, compression due to a tumor or cyst, and/or surgery. 

Other conditions that can cause similar symptoms include

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s Disease 
  • Herniated lumbar disc 

What are the Symptoms of Peroneal Nerve Injury?

Possible signs of peroneal nerve damage may include an inability to point toes upward or lift their ankle (dorsiflexion), pain, numbness, or weakness in the shin or top of the foot, loss of ability to move their foot, and a distinctive gait involving a higher-than-normal raising of the knee when swinging forward (called steppage or foot drop gait).

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How is Peroneal Nerve Injury Diagnosed?

To delve into what is causing these symptoms, our doctors conduct tests such as electromyography (measuring ongoing muscle activity) and nerve conduction study (measuring electrical impulse through a nerve), or imaging techniques like CT scan, ultrasound, or MRI.

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What are the Treatment Options for Peroneal Nerve Decompression?

Depending on the location and degree of nerve damage, peroneal nerve injury is treated by a variety of methods. Nonsurgical treatments, such as orthotics, braces, or foot splints, can be prescribed to aid in reducing symptoms. It is also important to address any underlying illnesses that may be contributing to the injury. 

Physical therapy and gait retraining are often helpful in improving mobility and strength.  More severe cases may require peripheral nerve surgery, which may include decompression surgery, nerve repair or grafting, nerve transfer or tendon transfer depending on the individual situation. All treatments are designed to improve the use of the affected limb and reduce pain or other discomfort associated with peroneal nerve injury.

Surgical Options for Peroneal Nerve Decompression

Surgical treatment of peroneal nerve decompression is a procedure used to relieve pressure on the common peroneal nerve, which can cause pain, numbness, and foot drop. The surgery is typically performed with the patient in the lateral position and involves microsurgical decompression of the affected nerve. After surgery for peroneal nerve decompression in Denver, patients may experience some sharp pain in the knee when working on it. Recovery time after this procedure is usually 3-4 months and for the first 6 weeks it is important not to encourage too much movement of the knee.

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Why Choose Atlas Institute Peripheral Nerve Care?

Atlas Institute Peripheral Nerve Care is a state-of-the-art nerve center that is equipped with the latest diagnostic and therapeutic technology. We provide surgical and non-surgical solutions for nerve pain or dysfunction, helping patients to achieve relief from their symptoms. Our down-to-earth approach focuses purely on the technical aspects of surgery and treatment. We understand that other providers may not recognize or believe the true significance of nerve pain or dysfunction if it is not easy to test. At the Atlas Institute, we have advanced training in these disorders, offering a full spectrum of treatments that go beyond merely managing symptoms. With accurate diagnosis and a directed treatment plan, pain, and dysfunction can be dramatically decreased so that patients can lead a life free from pain and return to their normal activities. Furthermore, we strive for our patients to look and function beautifully through thoughtful and meticulous surgery.

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