Conduction studies of the normal sural nerve

Muscle Nerve. 1992 Mar;15(3):374-83. doi: 10.1002/mus.880150318.


The sural nerve was studied orthodromically using the near-nerve technique in 273 normal subjects (155 females, 118 males) aged 5 to 90 years. The sensory action potential (SAP), evoked at the dorsum of the foot, was recorded at the lateral malleolus and midcalf, and at the midcalf when evoked at the lateral malleolus. In addition, the SAP was recorded at intermediate distal sites and at proximal sites at the popliteal fossa, the gluteal fold, and the S-1 root. The amplitude of the SAP recorded at midcalf was 32% higher in females than in males. This was probably due to volume-conduction properties, as differences between genders were less noticeable at more distal recording sites. The amplitude decreased steeply and exponentially with age. Conduction distance had a strong influence on the amplitude of the SAP, which decreased with increasing distance following a power relationship with an exponent of 1.4 to 1.7. This decrease was due to temporal dispersion with decreased summation and increased phase cancellation. The conduction velocity was slightly lower along the very distal course of the nerve than along more proximal segments.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Adult
  • Electrodiagnosis / methods
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sural Nerve / physiology*