Normative Reference Values of the Tibial Nerve in Healthy Individuals Using Ultrasonography: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Thanyaporn Senarai, Athikhun Suwannakhan (Lead / Corresponding author), Thongchai Pratipanawatr, Kaissar Yammine, Laphatrada Yurasakpong, Tanapat Sathapornsermsuk, Sirorat Janta, Achiraya Kittiboonya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Background: High-resolution ultrasound of the tibial nerve has been used for screening of several neurologic disorders, but normative reference values of tibial nerve cross-sectional areas (CSA) have not been well established. Thus, the present meta-analysis was performed to generate normative estimates of tibial nerve CSA at various sites of the lower limb based on ultrasonography.

Methods: Google Scholar, Scopus and PubMed were searched for potential studies. Studies were required to report tibial nerve CSA in healthy individuals to be included. A random-effect meta-analysis was performed to calculate tibial nerve CSA values. Subgroup and statistical analyses were performed to study covariates.

Results: Forty-eight eligible articles consisting of 2695 limbs were included. The average tibial nerve CSA was found to be 10.9 mm2 at the ankle (95% CI: 9.9-11.8) and should not exceed 11.8 mm2 in healthy adults. At the popliteal fossa, the overall CSA was 21.7 mm2 (95% CI: 17.5-25.8) in healthy adults. At both sites, the average tibial nerve CSA was significantly larger in adults than in children, and the differences by geographical region were not statistically significant. At the ankle, tibial nerve CSA increased with age and body mass index, while at the popliteal fossa it increased with age and weight.

Conclusions: our findings indicate that the tibial nerve varied not only along its course but also among sub-variables. Establishing normal references values of tibial nerve CSA is helpful to differentiate healthy from diseased tibial nerves such as in diabetic peripheral neuropathy or tarsal tunnel syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6186
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number19
Early online date25 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023


  • meta-analysis
  • reference values
  • sonography
  • systematic review
  • tibial nerve
  • ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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