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Branching patterns of medial and inferior calcaneal nerves around the tarsal tunnel.

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the bifurcation pattern of the tibial nerve and its branches.

METHODS: Eleven legs of seven fresh cadavers were dissected. The reference line for the bifurcation point of tibial nerve branches was an imaginary horizontal line passing the tip of the medial malleolus. The distances between the reference line and the bifurcation points were measured. The bifurcation branching patterns were categorized as type I, the pattern in which the medial calcaneal nerve (MCN) branched most proximally; type II, the pattern in which the three branches occurred at the same point; and type III, in which MCN branched most distally.

RESULTS: There were seven cases (64%) of type I, three cases (27%) of type III, and one case (9%) of type II. The median MCN branching point was 0.2 cm (range, -1 to 3 cm). The median bifurcation points of the lateral plantar nerves and inferior calcaneal nerves was -0.6 cm (range, -1.5 to 1 cm) and -2.5 cm (range, -3.5 to -1 cm), respectively.

CONCLUSION: MCN originated from the tibial nerve in most cases, and plantar nerves were bifurcated below the medial malleolus. In all cases, inferior calcaneal nerves originated from the lateral plantar nerve. These anatomical findings could be useful for performing procedures, such as nerve block or electrophysiologic studies.

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