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Acute-Onset Footdrop Caused by Intraneural Ganglion Cyst of the Common Peroneal Nerve: The Effects of Extraneural Pressure Gradients on Cyst Propagation

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  • 1 JFK Medical Center, Atlantis, FL.
  • | 2 MRI Specialists, Boynton Beach, FL.
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Ganglion cysts are relatively common entities, but intraneural ganglia within peripheral nerves are rare and poorly understood. We present a case of a 51-year-old man who presented with acute left dropfoot. Initial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was misinterpreted as common peroneal neuritis consistent with a traction injury corroborated by the patient’s history. However, after surgical decompression and external neurolysis were performed, the patient’s symptoms worsened. Repeated MRI revealed an intraneural ganglion cyst of the common peroneal nerve with connection to the superior tibiofibular joint by means of its anterior recurrent branch that was evident retrospectively on preoperative MRI. It is crucial to carefully inspect atypical cases to further recognize and appreciate the dynamic aspect of this disease or “roller-coaster” phenomenon. Intraneural ganglion cysts rely heavily on intraneural and extraneural pressure gradients for propagation, which can be drawn from the expanded work of the unifying articular theory. This report emphasizes the importance of understanding the pathoanatomical and hydraulic factors to appropriately identify and treat intraneural ganglion cysts. Increased recognition of this pathologic entity as a differential diagnosis for acute onset dropfoot is also highlighted.

Corresponding author: Samantha L Williams, DPM, JFK Medical Center, 5301 S Congress Ave, Atlantis, FL 33462. (E-mail: samanthawilliamsdpm@gmail.com)