Doctors and providers who treat this condition


Peroneal Nerve Palsy

The peroneal nerve travels down the lower leg and helps lift the foot at the ankle (for example, when walking). Chronic pressure on the nerve as it passes along the side of the knee is a common cause for peroneal nerve palsy. This causes weakness in the muscles that lift the foot with numbness or tingling at the top of the foot.

This most often occurs in persons who are bedridden or strapped into a wheelchair with accidental pressure on the side of the knee. Crossing your legs for long periods of time can also damage this nerve. A fracture or crush injury of the lower leg may also cause this palsy.

If nerve damage is severe, your foot may drag when you walk, because you are unable to lift it (called “foot drop”). A special brace or splint worn inside the shoe (called an Ankle Foot Orthosis) may be used to hold the foot in the best position for walking. Physical therapy can help you learn to walk with a foot drop. This condition may improve when nerve compression is relieved.

Home Care:

  1. Avoid positions that put pressure on the side of the knee.

  2. Do not cross your legs for long periods of time.

  3. Bedridden persons and those in wheelchairs may need to use padding to protect the knees from harmful pressure. This is especially important if there is lack of feeling around the knee.

  4. If you do not have feeling in your foot, take extra precautions to protect it.

    • Wear comfortable, proper fitting shoes.

    • Wash your feet daily with warm water and mild soap.

    • After drying, apply a moisturizing cream or lotion.

    • Check your feet daily for skin breaks, blisters, swelling, or redness.

    • Wear cotton socks and change them every day.

    • Trim toenails carefully and do not cut your cuticles.

    • Do not use heating pads or hot water bottles on your feet.

    • Do not put your foot in a hot tub without first checking the temperature with your hand.

    • Schedule yearly foot exams.

  5. Be cautious when going up or down stairs. 

  6. If you are having difficulty walking due to the foot drop, an in-shoe splint, cane or walker may be helpful. Talk to your doctor about these options.

  7. Weakness or loss of feeling in the foot or leg may interfere with your ability to safely drive a car. Discuss this concern with your doctor before you resume driving.

Follow Up

with your doctor or as advised by our staff.

Get Prompt Medical Attention

if any of the following occur:

  • Increasing leg swelling

  • Increasing leg pain, weakness or numbness

  • Numbness or weakness of the face or leg

  • Slurred speech, confusion, trouble speaking, walking or seeing


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