Common peroneal nerve palsy (CPNP) is a serious complication following total knee arthroplasty (TKA). There is little information regarding the clinical course and prognostic factors for recovery. Between January 2000 and December 2008, 44 patients (0.53%) developed CPNP following TKA and were matched to 100 control patients based on year of surgery, type of surgery and surgeon. Regression analysis was performed to identify prognostic factors for recovery. A significant difference was seen in CPNP patients who were on average younger (62.1 years) and had higher BMI (34.5 kg/m2) than those who did not have nerve palsy (67.5 years and 31.8 kg/m2, respectively). Only 37 patients with palsies could be followed, 32 (62.2%) had incomplete nerve palsy, twenty four (75%) of them fully recovered, while only 1 of patients with complete nerve palsy fully recovered. More severe initial injury was a negative prognostic factor for recovery of palsy (P < 0.03).