Peroneal neuropathy is a condition that occurs when the common peroneal nerve is injured, reports the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine. This often leads to lower leg pain, numbness of the feet or a condition known as "foot drop" in which the patient is unable to lift the ankle, extend the toes or turn the foot laterally.
The peroneal nerve branches off from the sciatica nerve at the thigh and runs down the leg, wrapping around the fibular head, a bony structure just below the knee, explains a paper on PubMed. At this point, the peroneal nerve lies between the bone and skin, making it vulnerable to injury from external trauma. A blow to the side of the leg can injure this nerve, leading to peroneal neuropathy. However, damage to the nerve can also occur at the hip or ankle, when the ankle is twisted in the wrong way, stretching the nerve, notes Columbia University Medical Center. It can also occur as a result of a fractured tibia, fibula or ankle.
A patient exhibiting foot drop as a result of peroneal neuropathy is often required to wear a splint or foot brace while waiting for the peroneal nerve to recover, explains Vermont SpineWorks & Rehabilitation. During this time, the patient is at risk for muscular atrophy or ulcers forming on the foot or ankle due to its lack of use.