Anatomical study of the communicating branches between the medial and lateral plantar nerves

GOVSA F., Bilge O. , OZER M. A.

SURGICAL AND RADIOLOGIC ANATOMY, vol.27, no.5, pp.377-381, 2005 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 27 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00276-005-0009-4
  • Page Numbers: pp.377-381


The plantar areas of the foot have specific biomechanical characteristics and play a distinct role in balance and standing. For the forefoot surgeon, knowledge of the variations in the anatomy of communicating branches is important for plantar reconstruction, local injection therapy and an excision of interdigital neuroma. The anatomy of the communicating branches of the plantar nerves between the fourth and third common plantar digital nerves in the foot were studied in 50 adult men cadaveric feet. A communicating branch was present between the third and fourth intermetatarsal spaces nerves in all eight left feet and in six right feet (overall, 28%), and absent in 36 (72%). A communicating branch was found in 14 ft. Ten of the 14 communications were from the lateral to the medial plantar nerve. The length of the communicating branch ranged from 8 to 56 mm (average 16.4 mm) and its diameter was 0.2-0.6 times of the fourth common plantar digital nerve. The angle of the communicating branch with the common plantar digital nerve from which it originated was less than 30 degrees in 11 ft, 30-59 degrees in 27 ft, 60-80 degrees in 8 ft, and more than 80 degrees in 4 ft. Classification of the branch is based on the branching pattern of the communicating branch and explains variations in plantar sensory innervations. We think that the perpendicular coursing communicating branch is at higher risk to be severed during surgery.