3 Causes of Damage to Peroneal Nerve
The three main causes of peroneal nerve damage can be categorized as:
- Underlying Disease
Injury/Trauma No other nerve in the body is as frequently subjected to trauma as is the peroneal nerve, also called the fibular nerve. A sharp blow to the outside of the knee, such as may happen while playing sports or in a car accident is a frequent cause of peroneal nerve damage resulting in some degree of drop foot. If the fibula, the bone in the lower leg, is actually fractured or broken, the peroneal nerve is in serious danger of suffering injury.
Since the peroneal nerve is connected to the sciatic nerve, an injury higher up on the body can cause injury to the peronal nerve. For instance, a broken hip, such as an elderly person might suffer in a fall, can lead to peroneal neuropathy. Surgery itself can cause problems, particularly complications from hip replacement surgery or spinal fusion operations.
Immobility/Compression Immobility and compression of the leg refers to circumstances that put pressure on the knee such as wearing a plaster cast. While wearing a cast on a broken leg cannot be avoided, a person should not hesitate to tell his or her doctor if the cast is too tight. Lying immobile for an extended period of time as when in a coma, also puts pressure on the back of the knee which can be problematic.
Another cause of neuropathy of the peroneal nerve is one that is easily avoided: the tendency of women to cross their legs at the knee whenever they are sitting down. Eventually, a woman in middle age may start to notice a reduced lack of feeling behind her leg and knee, which is one of the symptoms of damage to the fibular nerve. Women should learn to be conscious of sitting with crossed legs for a long time.
Another common activity that can cause problems with your peroneal nerve is the frequent wearing of high, snug boots. Obviously, this is more of an issue for women who live in cold climates.
Underlying Disease Different diseases can can sufficient weakness or damage to the peroneal nerve to cause foot drop. These include Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, and the inherited disorder Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Long periods of alcohol abuse can also contribute to peroneal neuropathy, as well as to nerve damage throughout the body. Anorexia is another risk factor for nerve damage.
Read about the symptoms of peroneal nerve damage.
What is the Peroneal Nerve?
The peroneal nerve or (fibular nerve) is a branch of the sciatic nerve which crosses from behind the knee and then around the outside of the knee, to enter the muscles of the outside of the leg. It’s thickness is similar that that of a writing pen.
The purpose of the peroneal nerve is to supply energy and stimulation to the calf, ankle, foot, and toes. Whether or not you can move your foot normally depends on the health of this extremely important peroneal nerve.