Tibial nerve

Last revised by Arlene Campos on 12 Jan 2024

The tibial nerve is one of two terminal branches of the sciatic nerve and supplies the leg and foot with motor and sensory supply.

Fibers arise from the anterior divisions of the L4 to S3 nerve roots in the sacral plexus to form the tibial component of the sciatic nerve. It forms its own discrete nerve after the terminal division of the sciatic nerve, usually in the lower third of the thigh.

Passes straight down through the popliteal fossa, posterior to the popliteal vessels, to pass inferiorly between the heads of gastrocnemius and deep to the soleus muscle. In the posterior calf, it continues inferiorly in the midline, deep to the soleus and superficial to the tibialis posterior muscles. At the ankle, it passes under the flexor retinaculum in the tarsal tunnel, enclosed in a synovial sheath containing the posterior tibial vessels. At the level of the medial malleolus it divides into three terminal branches: medial and lateral plantar nerves, and the medial calcaneal nerve.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: lower limb nerves (Gray's illustrations)
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  • Case 1: schwannoma of the tibial nerve
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