What Is the Peroneal Nerve?

The peroneal nerve supplies sensation and movement to the lower leg, toes, and feet.
Injury or trauma to the knee may cause peroneal nerve damage.
Regularly wearing high boots may cause damage to the peroneal nerve.
Habitual leg crossing may cause damage to the peroneal nerve.
Diabetic patients may have an increased risk for peroneal nerve damage.
Article Details
  • Written By: Haven Esme
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2015
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

The peroneal nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve. This nerve is significant because it supplies sensation and movement to the lower leg, toes, and feet. The nerve wraps itself around the “funny bone” near the knee and gives the foot and toes the ability to lift, stretch, and move. Without this nerve, critical parts of the body would be ineffective. Individuals who have issues with this nerve often suffer from something called nerve dysfunction, also referred to as peripheral neuropathy.

The peroneal nerve can be damaged due to a number of reasons. One of the most common causes of nerve damage includes injury or trauma to the knee. In some cases regularly wearing high boots, habitual leg crossing, and even pressure to the knee during deep sleep can cause problems with the nerve. People who are extremely thin are at an increased risk of suffering damage to the nerve. Proper nutrition is vital in maintaining the nerve's health.

Individuals should be very careful to avoid injury to the peroneal nerve. Injuries to this nerve tend to recover very poorly. In an attempt to repair damage to the peroneal nerve doctors may use surgical repair techniques that include nerve grafting, nerve suture, or decompression. In some cases a person may need a nerve transfer. This involves taking a branch from the lower leg muscle and connecting it to the muscle responsible for lifting the foot.


The peroneal nerve serves many purposes. It allows a person to walk straight, have strength in the ankles and feet and experience sensation in these same areas. Without this important nerve, people would have weakness in the ankles or feet, toes that drag when walking, and ongoing numbness or tingling at the top of the foot and in the lower leg.

Another benefit of the peroneal nerve is that it provides control over certain leg and toe muscles. If the nerve is destroyed or degeneration occurs, there is a loss of muscle control and muscle tone. Eventually, the muscle mass will deteriorate.



You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post 7

The neurologist says I have neuropathy in my feet and some in my arms. I can't lift my heels off the floor and there is weakness in my feet and legs. I can't wear any type of heel in a shoe because it throws me on the balls of my feet and affects my balance. I don't have pain, except occasionally my feet get really hot at night. Is there anything I can do?

Post 6

I had a stroke and I have drop foot and this nerve damage, I think. But it feels like someone is stabbing me with a knife. I have been to doctors and they act like they don't want to deal with me. Which kind of doctor do I need to get with?

Post 5

Good info. I just suffered an injury to my peroneal nerve at work, and am looking to visit the doctor immediately.

Post 4

I'm 13 and i get numbness in my lower legs when i get active. My foot doctor said I've grown fast my peroneal nerve is stressed or stretched.

Post 3

Although peroneal nerve surgery can be very helpful in cases of damage to both the superior and superficial peroneal nerves, it is so important to catch this kind of thing early.

I truly can't stress it enough. If you ignore peroneal nerve symptoms, you could end up permanently disabled.

The long term effects of peroneal nerve damage are permanent numbness of the feet, permanent weakness of the feet and legs, and paralysis.

So don't mess around with it. If you think that you may have peroneal nerve damage, talk to your doctor ASAP.

Post 2

I had an aunt who was chronically underweight (she was anorexic), and who always complained of foot pain. She was always crossing her legs too.

Do you think that she could have somehow damaged her peroneal nerve, causing foot pain? Damage to the peroneal nerve and numbness are also associated, right?

She used to say her feet got numb really easily.

The more I read over this article and imagine the peroneal nerve location, the more I think that my aunt was showing peroneal nerve damage symptoms.

Very informative -- I'm glad I know about this now.

Post 1

Nice article -- I like how you included a lot of different causes of peroneal nerve dysfunction. I never knew that the peroneal nerve and leg crossing were connected though -- nice research!

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?