Complete Foot Drop with Normal Electrodiagnostic Studies: Sunderland "zero" Ischemic Conduction Block of the Common Peroneal Nerve

Blair R. Peters, Stahs Pripotnev, David Chi, Susan E. MacKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Common peroneal neuropathy is a peripheral neuropathy of multifactorial etiology often left undiagnosed until foot drop manifests and electrodiagnostic abnormalities are detected. However, reliance on such striking symptoms and electrodiagnostic findings for diagnosis stands in contrast to other commonly treated neuropathies, such as carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome. Poor recognition of common peroneal neuropathy without foot drop or the presence of foot drop with normal electrodiagnostic studies thus often results in delayed or no surgical treatment. Our cases document 2 patients presenting with complete foot drop who had immediate resolution after decompression. The first patient presented with normal electrodiagnostic studies representing an isolated Sunderland Zero nerve ischemia. The second patient presented with severe electrodiagnostic studies but also had an immediate improvement in their foot drop representing a Sunderland VI mixed nerve injury with a significant contribution from an ongoing Sunderland Zero ischemic conduction block. In support of recent case series, these patients demonstrate that common peroneal neuropathy can present across a broad diagnostic spectrum of sensory and motor symptoms, including with normal electrodiagnostic studies. Four clinical subtypes of common peroneal neuropathy are presented, and surgical decompression may thus be indicated for these patients that lack the more conventional symptoms of common peroneal neuropathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-428
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Plastic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • Sunderland
  • common peroneal nerve
  • drop foot
  • electrodiagnostic
  • lower extremity
  • nerve decompression
  • peripheral nerve
  • peroneal neuropathy


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