MR imaging of entrapment neuropathies of the lower extremity. Part 2. The knee, leg, ankle, and foot

Radiographics. 2010 Jul-Aug;30(4):1001-19. doi: 10.1148/rg.304095188.


Entrapment neuropathies of the knee, leg, ankle, and foot are often underdiagnosed, as the results of clinical examination and electrophysiologic evaluation are not always reliable. The causes of most entrapment neuropathies in the lower extremity may be divided into two major categories: (a) mechanical causes, which occur at fibrous or fibro-osseous tunnels, and (b) dynamic causes related to nerve injury during specific limb positioning. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, including high-resolution MR neurography, allows detailed evaluation of the course and morphology of peripheral nerves, as well as accurate delineation of surrounding soft-tissue and osseous structures that may contribute to nerve entrapment. Familiarity with the normal MR imaging anatomy of the nerves in the knee, leg, ankle, and foot is essential for accurate assessment of the presence of peripheral entrapment syndromes. Common entrapment neuropathies in the knee, leg, ankle, and foot include those of the common peroneal nerve, deep peroneal nerve, superficial peroneal nerve, tibial nerve and its branches, and sural nerve.

MeSH terms

  • Ankle / innervation
  • Ankle / pathology
  • Foot / innervation
  • Foot / pathology
  • Humans
  • Knee / innervation
  • Knee / pathology
  • Lower Extremity / innervation*
  • Lower Extremity / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / diagnosis*