Don’t ignore nerve pain that travels down your leg and impacts your foot because you could end up with a permanent disability. You can easily injure your peroneal nerve from a range of activities, such as long-distance running or sitting with your legs crossed for long stretches. A peroneal nerve injury or peroneal nerve entrapment may require spinal cord stimulation. To assess the damage and begin peroneal nerve treatment, call the nerve pain experts at Pain Management NYC. The sooner you begin peroneal nerve injury treatment, the better your chances of avoiding long-term consequences.
What Is a Peroneal Nerve Injury?
The peroneal nerve runs down each leg and provides feeling to the front and sides of your leg, extending to the upper part of your foot. Also called the common fibular nerve, it helps you lift your ankle and toes upward. If the peroneal nerve is injured or entrapped, it can cause pain, numbness and weakness. Loss of movement or sensation in your foot or lower leg may be a sign of peroneal nerve injury or peroneal nerve entrapment.
Any type of nerve pain can be excruciating, and peroneal nerve pain is no exception. If you’re living with neuralgia, neuropathy, headaches or another kind of pain, find the best pain experts to diagnose and alleviate your pain effectively and quickly. For a thorough evaluation, accurate diagnosis and the best treatment plan to get started toward a pain-free life, there’s no better choice than Pain Management NYC.
What Are the Symptoms of a Peroneal Nerve Injury?
In addition to pain, difficulty moving the leg may gradually lead to loss of muscle mass. Peroneal nerve entrapment may cause pain in the foot or lower leg that’s usually described as shooting or burning.
The peroneal nerve is a major nerve that starts at the sciatic nerve, runs down the back of the thigh, then wraps around the front of the leg where it splits into two branches:
- Superficial peroneal nerve. This nerve runs along the outside of your leg and provides sensation to the outer part of your leg and the top of your foot.
- Deep peroneal nerve. This nerve runs on the inside of your leg and controls the function of the inside of your foot, which includes the big toe and the second toe.
Peroneal nerve injuries can cause foot drop that leads to difficulty lifting the foot. If you have foot drop, your toes may point toward the floor. You then must lift one leg higher than the other when you walk to avoid dragging your toes on the floor.
Other symptoms of a peroneal nerve injury or compression of this nerve include:
- Numbness or tingling that affects the top of the foot or the shin
- Weakness of legs, ankles or foot
- Inability to flex toes upward
To determine if you need peroneal nerve injury treatment, your doctor does a full physical examination and may run tests such as an ultrasound, an MRI, a nerve conduction study or an electromyography.
What Causes Peroneal Nerve Entrapment or Injury?
The peroneal nerve can be injured if there’s any type of trauma to your leg, ankle or knee.
Examples of injuries that can damage the peroneal nerve include:
- Fracture in the leg or knee
- Knee injuries or ankle injuries, such as dislocation
- Hip or knee replacement surgery
Peroneal nerve entrapment refers to compression of the peroneal nerve. This could be caused by prolonged bedrest or habitually crossing your legs. Pressure on this nerve could also be caused by a tumor, cyst or blood clot or by wearing a plaster cast that’s too tight.
What Options Do I Have for Peroneal Nerve Treatment?
Peroneal nerve injury treatment depends on the location and severity of nerve damage.
Some options for treating personal nerve dysfunction include:
- Pain medications. The pain caused by peroneal nerve damage may be relieved by using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen, ibuprofen or aspirin. Your NYC pain doctor may prescribe antidepressants or anti-seizure medication to reduce nerve pain.
- Ice. Apply ice to ankle, foot or leg a few times a day to reduce pain and swelling.
- Orthopedic devices. A variety of devices to support the leg or foot may be used, such as shoe inserts, splints or braces.
- Physical therapy. Working with an experienced physical therapist is a good way to work on improving strength and range of motion as well as problems with gait or balance.
- Spinal cord stimulation & Peripheral nerve stimulation. This new treatment may be the best way to eliminate the pain. Peripheral nerve stimulation may also be effective.
- Injections. Your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid injection to reduce swelling and relieve pressure on the nerve.
If peroneal nerve damage is caused by an underlying illness such as diabetes or anorexia nervosa, your treatment plan must include treatment of that illness. In many cases, symptoms improve using these methods and surgery isn’t necessary.
When Is Surgery Done for Peroneal Nerve Injury Treatment?
If your nerve pain is severe and there’s been no improvement after using a nonsurgical approach to treatment for three months, surgery may be considered.
Surgical procedures that may be done for peroneal nerve treatment include:
- Nerve grafting, which involves using a nerve from another area of the body to repair damage to the peroneal nerve
- Decompression surgery, which may be done to release pressure on a compressed nerve
- Nerve transfer that reroutes a healthy nerve and connects it to a damaged nerve to restore sensation and function
- Nerve repair that involves trimming away damage at the end of a nerve and attaching remaining nerve ends back together
What Factors Increase the Risk of a Peroneal Nerve Injury?
Certain health conditions increase the risk of having a peroneal nerve injury, especially conditions that cause nerve damage.
Some examples of these include:
- Diabetic neuropathy, which is a type of nerve damage that’s very common among people with type 2 diabetes
- Neuropathy in feet from other causes such as excessive alcohol use, vitamin deficiencies or exposure to toxins
- Anorexia nervosa or a low body mass index (BMI)
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
Inflammatory conditions, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, can also increase your risk of experiencing peroneal nerve injury. Athletes who frequently run and jump are prone to having ankle and knee injuries, which may affect the peroneal nerve.
If you have peroneal nerve damage or injury, seek medical care, especially if it’s affecting your ability to walk. Without treatment, your ability to walk worsens and you may experience permanent weakness or loss of sensation in your legs along with an increased risk of falling.
Don’t postpone seeing a neurologist after a leg injury or if you’re experiencing any signs of nerve damage. For the most up-to-date treatment options in the field of pain management, contact Pain Management NYC today.
Boleslav Kosharskyy, MD, is a top-rated, best-in-class interventional pain management doctor. He is board-certified in Anesthesiology, Interventional Pain Medicine, and Palliative Care.
Dr. Kosharskyy is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Rehabilitation Medicine at Albert Einstein Medical College. He’s also the Associate Medical Director of Pain Medicine and Director of Anesthesia for the Joint Replacement Center at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein Medical College.
He is an active member of the American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA), the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA), and the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists (NYSSA)