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Lateral Plantar Nerve
Nervous System

Lateral Plantar Nerve

Nervus plantaris lateralis

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Quick Facts

Origin: Tibial nerve (S1-S2).

Course: Runs distally, deep to flexor digitorum brevis muscle, and towards the fifth digit.

Branches: Deep and superficial branches.

Supply: Motor innervation to all muscles in the sole of the foot, except for those innervated by the medial plantar nerve; Sensory innervation to the lateral plantar skin and toes.

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The tibial nerve terminates in the tarsal tunnel on the medial surface of the ankle, by dividing into the lateral and medial plantar nerves. The lateral plantar nerve is the smaller of the two terminal branches.


The lateral plantar nerve runs diagonally across the plantar side of the foot, between the quadratus plantae and the flexor digitorum brevis muscles, towards the base of the fifth metatarsal.


The lateral plantar nerve gives rise to superficial and deep branches. Additionally, as the nerve traverses the quadratus plantae muscle, it gives off a small twig, the inferior calcaneal nerve, or Baxter’s nerve.

Supplied Structures

The lateral plantar nerve provides motor innervation to the abductor digiti minimi, quadratus plantae, second to fourth lumbricals, adductor hallucis, plantar and dorsal interossei, and flexor digiti minimi brevis muscles. It also provides sensory innervation to the lateral plantar surface of the foot and the fifth digit.

List of Clinical Correlates

—Lateral plantar nerve entrapment

—Baxter’s nerve impingement

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Lateral Plantar Nerve

ScienceDirect image

The lateral plantar nerve is often compared to the ulnar nerve in that it supplies motor branches to the remaining muscles of the lateral plantar aspect of the foot and cutaneous innervation to the lateral one-third of the plantar aspect of the foot.

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