The Reality Behind Peroneal Nerve Palsy
By Neurosurgery Singapore
What is Peroneal Nerve Palsy?
Peroneal nerve palsy is due to damage to the peroneal nerve leading to loss of movement or sensation in the foot and leg.
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. However, certain body-wide conditions may also cause single nerve injuries.
What are some underlying symptoms of Peroneal Nerve Palsy?
Numbness, tingling and paralysis are all common signs of peripheral nerve palsy. When the nerve is injured and results in dysfunction, symptoms may include:
- Decreased sensation, numbness, or tingling in the top of the foot or the outer part of the upper or lower leg
- Foot drops (unable to hold the foot up)
- “Slapping” gait (walking pattern in which each step makes a slapping noise)
- Toes drag while walking
- Walking problems
- Weakness of the ankles or feet
- Loss of muscle mass because the nerves aren’t stimulating the muscles
“Peripheral nerve palsies are a peripheral nerve disorder that may result from trauma, injury, genetic disorder or another nerve problem, nerve compression or another disease, such as diabetes.”
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What types of diagnosis?
Our Neurologist needs to accurately diagnose the underlying cause of a peroneal nerve injury in order to prescribe the most appropriate therapy. When assessing a person who may have a peroneal nerve injury, our doctor will begin with a careful history and proceed with a comprehensive clinical and neurologic exam.
In order to locate and fully determine the extent of the nerve injury, our doctor may order tests to evaluate how the muscles and nerves are functioning, including:
Electromyography, which measures ongoing muscle activity and response to a nerve’s stimulation of the muscle.
Nerve conduction study, which measures the amount and speed of conduction of an electrical impulse through a nerve.
The doctor may also order any of the following imaging techniques:
Possible treatment methods?
There are various types of treatments aim 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 and remind you to not cross your legs.
Corticosteroids injected into the area may reduce swelling and pressure on the nerve in some cases.
You may need surgery if:
- The disorder does not go away
- You have problems with movement
- There is evidence that the nerve axon is damaged
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.
You may need prescription pain relievers to control pain. Whenever possible, avoid or limit the use of medication to reduce the risk of side effects.
If your pain is severe, our 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.
Occupational therapy, or similar programs may help you maximize your mobility and independence. Our team of trained professionals will assist towards recovery.