Compression of a nerve can result in discomfort in the lower leg along the distribution of that nerve.





superficial peroneal

peroneus longus, peroneus brevis

medial side great toe; second through fifth toes except first interdigital cleft and lateral side of fifth toe

deep peroneal

anterior tibial compartment; weakness ankle dorsiflexion; extensor hallucis longus

first interdigitial cleft



posterior and lateral aspects of distal third of the leg; lateral side of foot including fifth toe



medial side of leg; medial aspect mid-foot


Mechanism of compression:

(1) compartment syndrome (associated with increased compartment pressure)

(2) muscle herniation through a fascial defect

(3) repeated trauma (dislocations, etc.)

(4) fibrosis



Location Where Often Compressed

superficial peroneal

fascia delimiting the lateral compartment

deep peroneal

intermuscular septum delimiting the anterior compartment

deep peroneal

entrance to the fibular tunnel at the origin of the peroneus longus




subsartorial (Hunter's canal)


Clinical Features:

(1) leg pain, which may be persistent

(2) burning sensation and/or paresthesias along the distribution of a nerve

(3) weakness or atrophy of muscle supplied by the nerve

(4) Tinel's sign (distal tingling on proximal percussion) may be present

(5) abnormal nerve conduction

(6) improvement on decompression


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