Entrapment Neuropathies

Also see neural heel pain page, under Heel Pain.

Orthopaedics and Trauma, Volume 23, Issue 6 , Pages 404-411, December 2009

(iii) Entrapment neuropathies of the foot and ankle

Timothy H.D. Williams

Andrew H.N. Robinson


Any of the 5 nerves supplying the foot and ankle (tibial, superficial & deep peroneal, sural, saphenous) can suffer compression neuropathy. The diagnosis is usually made clinically, supported by imaging and electrodiagnostic studies. Treatment is conservative or surgical. The known nerve entrapments about the foot and ankle are presented with a discussion of their aetiology, clinical findings and treatment options.


Entrapment neuropathies are a source of significant morbidity, but they are rare. They must be differentiated from radicular back pain caused by nerve root entrapment, and peripheral neuropathies secondary to systemic disease such as diabetes mellitus.¹ The nerve supply to the foot comprises five peripheral nerves, Four of these (tibial, deep peroneal (DPN), superficial peroneal nerve (SPN) and sural) are branches of the sciatic nerve and the fifth the saphenous, is a terminal branch of the femoral nerve. Entrapment of any of these nerves along their entire length can give symptoms in the foot and ankle, which can range from intermittent pain and paraesthesia to motor weakness and muscle wasting.