Peripheral Nerve Schwannoma: A Review of Varying Clinical Presentations and Imaging Findings

J Foot Ankle Surg. 2017 May-Jun;56(3):632-637. doi: 10.1053/j.jfas.2016.12.003. Epub 2017 Feb 22.


A schwannoma or neurilemmoma is a benign, isolated, noninvasive, and encapsulated tumor originating from Schwann cells of the peripheral nerve sheath. The incidence of a schwannoma occurring in the foot and ankle is rare, with prevalence rate of 1% to 10%. Schwannomas have no sex predilection, and they commonly occur in patients in their fourth decade. Malignant transformation of benign schwannoma is unusual; however, it is important to note that malignant variants of schwannomas do exist and account for about 5% to 10% of all soft tissue sarcomas. We present 3 cases of benign schwannoma in the lower extremity. All 3 patients presented with varying clinical symptoms, including pain, paresthesia, weakness, and a palpable mass. A schwannoma was eventually diagnosed in all 3 patients. We discuss and review the known entities of peripheral nerve schwannoma and describe the clinical and imaging findings and therapeutic strategies for treating and diagnosing peripheral nerve schwannoma.

Keywords: benign neoplasm; nerve sheath tumors; neurilemmoma; sural nerve; tarsal tunnel syndrome; tibial nerve.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Weakness / etiology
  • Nerve Sheath Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Nerve Sheath Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Nerve Sheath Neoplasms / surgery
  • Neurilemmoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Neurilemmoma / pathology*
  • Neurilemmoma / surgery
  • Paresthesia / etiology
  • Sural Nerve / diagnostic imaging
  • Sural Nerve / pathology*
  • Sural Nerve / surgery
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome / etiology
  • Tibial Nerve / diagnostic imaging
  • Tibial Nerve / pathology*
  • Tibial Nerve / surgery
  • Young Adult