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Superficial fibular (peroneal) nerve: want to learn more about it?

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Superficial fibular (peroneal) nerve

The superficial fibular nerve (superficial peroneal nerve or SPN) is one of two terminal branches of the common fibular (peroneal) nerve, the other being the deep fibular (peroneal) nerve. The adjectives fibular or peroneal are synonyms and are often used interchangeably in anatomical literature. They refer to anatomy related to the fibula which is also known as the perone.

The superficial fibular nerve is a mixed nerve located in the lateral compartment of the leg. It lies between the foot evertors, which it supplies, and the extensor digitorum longus muscle. In the distal leg, the nerve pierces the deep fascia to enter the foot, where it terminates as sensory branches that supply the distal anterior surface of the leg and the dorsum of the foot.

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the superficial fibular (peroneal) nerve.

Key facts about the superficial fibular (peroneal) nerve
Origin Common peroneal (fibular) nerve (L4-S2)
Branches Muscular branches of superficial fibular nerve, medial dorsal cutaneous nerve of foot, intermediate dorsal cutaneous nerve of foot, dorsal digital branches of superficial fibular nerve
Supply Motor: Fibularis (peroneus) longus muscle, fibularis (peroneus) brevis muscle
Sensory:
Skin of the distal anterior surface of the leg and the dorsum of the foot
Contents
  1. Origin and course
  2. Branches and innervation
  3. Clinical relations
    1. Superficial fibular (peroneal) neuropathy
  4. Sources
+ Show all

Origin and course

The superficial fibular nerve is the lateral terminal branch of the common fibular nerve, which is the lateral division of the sciatic nerve (L4-S3). It arises alongside the deep fibular nerve at the bifurcation of the common peroneal nerve, below the head of the fibula, and in the proximal part of the fibularis longus muscle.

From its origin, the superficial fibular nerve (L5, S1) descends in the lateral compartment of the leg between the fibularis longus and brevis muscles, and extensor digitorum longus muscle. In the distal third of the leg, the nerve pierces the deep fascia and becomes cutaneous. It subsequently divides into the medial dorsal cutaneous nerve and intermediate dorsal cutaneous nerve that enter the foot as purely sensory nerves.

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Branches and innervation

The superficial fibular nerve provides several muscular branches along its course, providing motor innervation to the fibularis longus and fibularis brevis muscles. These muscles are known as the primary evertors of the foot as their main functions are eversion and plantar flexion of the foot.

The superficial fibular nerve also provides two terminal sensory branches:

  • The medial dorsal cutaneous nerve runs across the ankle joint and divides into two dorsal digital branches. One branch supplies the skin on the medial side of the hallux (great toe) while the other supplies the adjoining sides of the second and third toes. The medial dorsal cutaneous nerve forms connections with both the saphenous nerve and the deep peroneal nerve.
  • The intermediate dorsal cutaneous nerve is a smaller branch located on the lateral aspect of the dorsum of the foot. It gives rise to dorsal digital branches that supply adjacent sides of the third to fifth toes as well as the skin of the lateral aspect of the ankle, and communicates with the sural nerve.

Superficial fibular (peroneal) nerve: want to learn more about it?

Our engaging videos, interactive quizzes, in-depth articles and HD atlas are here to get you top results faster.

What do you prefer to learn with?

“I would honestly say that Kenhub cut my study time in half.” – Read more. Kim Bengochea Kim Bengochea, Regis University, Denver

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