Doctor examining a patient for damage to the femoral nerve.
Femoral nerve injury, also known as femoral nerve dysfunction or neuropathy, can occur due to prolonged injury or compression. Typically, femoral nerve damage and dysfunction is associated with the leg and is characterized by an interruption of sensation in the front of the thigh and lower leg. This nerve is also involved in the muscle control needed to straighten the leg. However, as the femoral nerve runs from the trunk to the thigh, with several branches extending through these locations, significant trauma to almost any part of the body can result in damage to the systemic femoral nerve.
Femoral nerve damage can cause temporary paralysis in some patients.
Direct injury aside, femoral nerve injury can be caused by a number of other factors. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes can damage this nerve due to impaired metabolic functioning. In fact, expansive neuropathy in the legs and feet of diabetics is quite common. Other mediating factors include fracture of the pelvis, internal bleeding, or oxygen deprivation of the nerve due to being enveloped by a tumor or subjected to pressure by the presence of a tumor.
The doctor may check the patient’s knee reflex to determine if there is injury to the femoral nerve.
Symptoms of femoral nerve injury range from a feeling of general weakness in the leg to tingling sensations. It can sometimes be difficult to walk or stand for long periods. Often, patients describe the feeling that the knee just collapses, especially when trying to use stairs. The strange sensations experienced in the leg may include a tingling or burning sensation. However, while these sensations may cause some discomfort, localized pain is not a typical symptom.
Many doctors recommend physical therapy as part of the treatment plan for femoral nerve injuries.
The diagnosis of femoral nerve injury begins with a thorough physical examination, including observation of the knee’s automatic response and an assessment of the ability to straighten and bend the leg. If nerve damage is suspected, nerve conduction tests and various neurologic tests will likely be done. It is also possible that imaging tests are done to rule out blockage of the nerve by a tumor or other tumor. In addition, muscle strength can be tested using a procedure known as electromyography.
A person who loses sensation or movement in the leg may be suffering from damage to the femoral nerve.
A treatment plan is devised according to the underlying cause of the nerve damage. For example, in the case of diabetes-related degenerative nerve damage, increased measures to control resistance and glucose utilization may be necessary. On the other hand, if the tumors are causing compression of the femoral nerve, surgery may be indicated. In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be given to increase mobility. However, because of the risks associated with corticosteroids, many physicians may choose to prescribe physical therapy and/or orthopedic corrective devices.
Experiencing any of the symptoms of femoral nerve injury described above warrants consultation with a healthcare professional immediately. In most cases, the patient can expect a full recovery if treated in a timely manner. Ignoring the symptoms, however, can result in permanent injury and disability.