The peroneal nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve travelling down the exterior of the leg. It serves the peroneal muscles to allow pulling of the foot upwards and inwards. In most cases, the injury includes tingling and numbness in the lower leg and often due to a direct strike to the outside region of the knee joint.
What are the indications?
- Tingling or numbness in the side or front of the lower leg
- Diminished sensitivity if the affected areas are touched
- Weakness in lifting the foot upwards and turning it outwards in severe cases
- Foot drop can occur in which the foot could not be raised up to clear the floor while walking
- Slapping gait is evident where the foot slaps on the ground while walking
What are the possible causes?
The peroneal nerve might be damaged in various ways including injuries to the exterior of the knee where it is close to the skin.
Infection, swelling or inflammation can also damage the peroneal nerve as well as sustaining repeated pressure on the exterior of the knee especially when sitting with the legs crossed in constricted clothing. A fibula fracture or a dislocated knee can also cause nerve injury.
Management of peroneal nerve contusion
The treatment for peroneal nerve contusion is based on the exact cause of the injury. The symptoms due to an acute injury to the exterior knee might settle once the injury has healed and any pressure or swelling on the nerve has vanished. In case the injury is due to repeated compression, it requires further treatment.
If the symptoms are brought about by damage to the nerve itself, it is difficult to treat, but in all but the most severe cases, the damage can heal on its own, but this is a very slow process. Physical therapy might be beneficial in improving muscle control and strength. The exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles of the lower leg can also help with the injury.
Quick Note / Disclaimer
The material posted on this page on peroneal nerve contusion is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage nerve injuries, register for a first aid and CPR course with Ottawa First Aid.