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Peroneal Nerve Injury: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Posted by:

Johannes Sauer

Published at: July 09, 2024

Table of Contents
  1. What is the Peroneal Nerve?

  2. Causes of Peroneal Nerve Injury?

    1. Surgical Complications

    2. Diabetes

    3. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

  3. Symptoms of Peroneal Nerve Injury

    1. Loss of Sensation in the Foot

    2. Foot Drop

    3. Weak Muscles

  4. Treatment for Peroneal Nerve Injury

    1. Medical Treatments

    2. Surgical Treatments

  5. Footwear for Peroneal Nerve Injuries

One possible cause of foot drop and difficulties walking is an injury to the peroneal nerve. This guide will explore what you should know about peroneal nerve injuries, including causes, symptoms and treatments

What is the Peroneal Nerve?

The peroneal nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve that runs down the leg. It is responsible for carrying movement signals to your lower leg, foot and toes, as well as sensation to those same parts.

If the peroneal nerve is injured, you may experience a reduction in sensation, and/or difficulties moving your lower leg, foot and toes. 

The difficulties with moving the foot and toes can contribute to a condition called “foot drop,” that causes gait issues. 

Causes of Peroneal Nerve Injury?

There are many potential causes of peroneal nerve injury. Examples include a dislocated knee, complications from surgery, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, a compression-related injury, a fibular neck cut, or uninterrupted long-term bed rest. Crossing the legs a lot can even cause this nerve to be injured. Let’s discuss a few of these in more detail.

Surgical Complications

Issues involving the peroneal nerve are common after certain surgeries. The patient may develop foot drop and the other symptoms of a peroneal nerve injury as a complication of their procedure.


There are multiple types of focal limb diabetic neuropathies. Among them, peroneal neuropathy is the most widespread. Only 5-12% of all peroneal nerve palsy cases are associated with diabetes. But if you have other symptoms of diabetes, it is worth taking the time to rule it out. That way, if you do have this underlying condition, you can begin treating it. 

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Peripheral nerve lesions have been observed in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Foot drop is a common symptom of MS.

Symptoms of Peroneal Nerve Injury

Jul 8, 2024

Now that you know a little more about some of the potential causes of peroneal nerve injuries and palsies, let’s discuss some of the symptoms you may experience. 

Loss of Sensation in the Foot

Injury to the peroneal nerve can result in numbness in your foot. This may contribute to difficulties walking, and increase the chances of further injuries. For example, if you are barefoot, and you cut your foot on something, you might not even notice unless you look down and spot the bleeding (this is one reason why wearing shoes outdoors is important when you have peroneal nerve damage).

Foot Drop

Foot drop is a condition where you cannot fully lift the front parts of your feet as you walk, resulting in an unnatural gait.

Weak Muscles

Muscle weakness is another symptom of peroneal nerve injury, which can further exacerbate challenges with walking.

Treatment for Peroneal Nerve Injury

The symptoms of peroneal nerve injury can adversely impact your quality of life. They make it harder to get around, and can simply be uncomfortable. Let’s go over some treatment options that may help.

Medical Treatments

The main treatment used for peroneal nerve injury is physical therapy. You can boost strength and range of motion with PT, while re-learning a correct gait. Your physical therapist may recommend you perform peroneal tendonitis exercises and foot drop exercises.

Your doctor may also suggest you wear a splint or orthotic device to support your foot as you walk. It can brace your foot in the right position, helping you to walk correctly and providing a little extra support in case of muscle weakness.

Surgical Treatments

Nerve grafts, decompression surgeries, and similar procedures may sometimes be used to treat peroneal nerve injuries. Surgical procedures have a high rate of a positive outcome for patients experiencing these types of injuries.

You would only be recommended for surgical treatment in cases where your injury is severe. Peroneal nerve injuries often resolve themselves. So, if you have a milder case, your doctor will recommend more conservative treatment options first. Chances are good that these will lead to a favorable outcome.

Footwear for Peroneal Nerve Injuries

We have talked about how personal nerve injuries can make walking a challenge. But you still are going to need to walk if you have this type of injury. Not only do you need to be able to get around, but you may also need to walk to practice re-training your gait and facilitating your recovery.

How can you protect yourself when you are walking with peroneal nerve damage? We recommend that you choose appropriate shoes for foot drop.

Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes for men and women feature patented variable friction technology. This technology consists of a pair of elevated nylon pucks on the sides of the soles, and an articulated foam rocker. While you walk, the rocker can absorb the pucks, activating the high-friction component of the shoe.

The result of this variable friction technology is that you will have an easier time walking across uneven surfaces. Even when you cannot lift your foot completely because of foot drop, you will be able to “glide” over these surfaces. That means a reduced chance of trips and falls.

Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes stand out for other reasons as well. Here are a few of the additional benefits they offer people with peroneal nerve injuries or other issues involving peripheral nerves:

  • These shoes are compatible with an AFO or insert. Either or both of these may be recommended by your doctor to help you walk with your condition while maintaining a natural gait. 
  • The base of the shoe is wide, providing you with extra stability compared to narrower shoes. 
  • The lightweight materials used in these shoes makes them non-fatiguing. You can walk longer distances without tiring yourself out than you could with heavier shoes. Plus, they are breathable and comfortable in any climate.
  • The shoes have an easy-on, easy-off design. Some people with peripheral nerve problems may have them in their hands as well, so this feature can be a big help. 
  • Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes fit comfortably. They offer cushioning for support, and are snug, but not constricting. This is important for maintaining stability while not compressing the nerve and causing further discomfort or damage. 

You will also appreciate the fashionable design of these shoes for foot drop. They look great with a wide range of styles, and are available in multiple colors. Some customers even end up buying a few pairs so they can match them to different outfits.



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How long does a peroneal nerve injury take to heal?

A peroneal nerve injury may take months, years or decades to heal. There are also cases where the injury may never completely heal. 

The recovery timeline for foot drop can also vary. Learn signs of healing from foot drop.

Can you walk with peroneal nerve damage?

Yes. With mild peroneal nerve damage, you might not even have your gait impacted much or at all. 

But with more severe peroneal nerve damage, foot drop may cause walking difficulties. That does not mean you will be unable to walk, but it does mean that your gait may not be as comfortable or healthy as it should be. Thankfully, treatments and gait re-training can help.

Can the peroneal nerve repair itself?

Yes. In fact, this is a common outcome. Be patient, as healing from peroneal nerve damage takes time. Do not panic if you are not seeing major improvements even within a few months. You may still be on track to improvement, just in a situation where you are going to require years of healing.

What are the trigger points of the peroneal nerve?

You may be asking about the trigger points for the peroneus muscle group. You can find the trigger point just above and in front of your ankle. 

Posted by: Johannes Sauer

Johannes is the CEO and Co-Founder of Cadense and passionate about helping people with walking difficulties. Johannes is the CEO and Co-Founder of Cadense and passionate about helping people with walking difficulties. He was immediately drawn to the mission of the company because his cousin lost his lower leg in a tragic motorcycle accident a few years ago and is experiencing walking difficulties ever since. Johannes brings over a decade of experience in working for consumer product companies to Cadense. He holds an MBA from the University of Graz in Austria. Johannes lives with his family in Santa Barbara, CA.

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