What is the pathogenesis of superficial peroneal nerve entrapment?

Updated: Oct 15, 2019
  • Author: Minoo Hadjari Hollis, MD; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD  more...
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Local trauma or compression is the most common underlying cause of entrapment of the superficial peroneal nerve. Repeated ankle sprains or long-term use of certain positions (eg, prolonged kneeling or squatting) can make certain individuals more prone to the development of symptoms. This tendency is thought to be due to recurrent stretch injury to the nerve. Perineural fibrosis of the superficial peroneal nerve at the level of the ankle after an inversion ankle sprain has been reported. [32]

The superficial peroneal nerve is also at risk for direct injury from any procedure about the anterior ankle, including use of the anterolateral ankle arthroscopy portal. Chronic or exertional lateral compartment syndrome can also cause compression of the superficial peroneal nerve, particularly in athletes.

Nontraumatic causes of superficial peroneal nerve entrapment are commonly due to anatomic variations, such as fascial defects with or without muscle herniation about the lateral lower leg (where the nerve is entrapped as it emerges into the subcutaneous tissue) or a short peroneal tunnel proximally.

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