Common peroneal nerve dysfunction : Treatment

Treatment

Treatment is aimed at maximizing mobility and independence. Any illness or other source of inflammation that is causing the neuropathy should be treated.

If there is no history of trauma to the area, the condition developed suddenly with minimal sensation changes and no difficulty in movement, and there is no test evidence of nerve axon degeneration, then a conservative treatment plan will probably be recommended.

Corticosteroids injected into the area may reduce swelling and pressure on the nerve in some cases.

Surgery may be required if the disorder is persistent or symptoms are worsening, if there is difficulty with movement, or if there is evidence on testing that the nerve axon is degenerating. Surgical decompression of the area may reduce symptoms if the disorder is caused by pressure on the nerve. Surgical removal of tumors or other conditions that press on the nerve may be of benefit.

CONTROLLING SYMPTOMS

Over-the-counter or prescription analgesics may be needed to control pain. Other medications may be used to reduce the stabbing pains that some people experience, including gabapentin, carbamazepine, or tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline. Whenever possible, medication use should be avoided or minimized to reduce the risk of side effects.

If pain is severe, a pain specialist should be consulted so that all options for pain treatment are explored.

Physical therapy exercises may be appropriate for some people to maintain muscle strength.

Orthopedic assistance may maximize the ability to walk and prevents contractures. This may include use of braces, splints, orthopedic shoes, or other equipment.

Vocational counseling, occupational therapy, or similar intervention may be recommended to help maximize mobility and independence.

Prognosis (Expectations)

The outcome depends on the underlying cause. Successful treatment of the underlying cause may resolve the dysfunction, although it may take several months for the nerve to grow back.

Alternately, if nerve damage is severe, disability may be permanent. The nerve pain may be quite uncomfortable. This disorder does NOT usually shorten the person’s expected life span.

Complications

  • Decreased ability to walk
  • Permanent decrease in sensation in the legs or feet
  • Permanent weakness or paralysis in the legs or feet
  • Side effects of medication

Calling Your Health Care Provider

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms that indicate common peroneal nerve dysfunction.


Review Date : 8/29/2009
Reviewed By : Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital; David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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