The dropped big toe.
Surgical procedures for exposure of the upper third of the fibula have been known to cause weakness of the long extensor of the big toe post-operatively. The authors present three representative cases of surgically induced dropped big toe. From cadaveric dissection, an anatomic basis was found for this phenomenon. The tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum longus muscles have their origin at the proximal end of the leg and receive their first motor innervation from a branch that arises from the common peroneal or deep peroneal nerve at about the level of the neck of the fibula. However, the extensor hallucis longus muscle originates in the middle one-third of the leg and the nerves innervating this muscle run a long course in close proximity to the fibula for up to ten centimeters from a level below the neck of the fibula before entering the muscle. Surgical intervention in the proximal one-third of the fibula just distal to the origin of the first motor branch to the tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum longus muscles carries a risk of injury to the nerves innervating the extensor hallucis longus.
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