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What is Femoral Neuropathy?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2016
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Femoral neuropathy is a medical condition characterized by a problem with the femoral nerve which causes sensation changes and/or lack of motor control in one of the legs. There are a number of approaches to the treatment and management of femoral neuropathy, with the best treatment depending on the cause of the condition. Like other neurological conditions, the prognosis tends to be better if the problem is identified early.

The femoral nerve provides innervation and sensation to the leg, with two nerves descending from the lumbar spine to the right and left legs, respectively. The nerve can be damaged through trauma, disease such as vasculitis, diabetes, pressure, or a compression injury. In all cases, the damage to the nerve interferes with its function, causing a problem known as neuropathy.

Symptoms associated with femoral neuropathy are varied. Some patients feel numbness, tingling, or random hot spots. Other changes in sensation may be experienced as well. Some patients also experience problems moving or controlling their legs as a result of damage to the nerves which control movement. The problem often grows more severe over time, as damage to the nerve may continue unless it is addressed by a doctor.

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Doctors can diagnose femoral neuropathy by conducting neurological tests which determine how much sensation has been lost, and where. The doctor may also conduct an interview with the patient to look for likely causes of the problem, such as recent trauma or a history of diabetes. The goal is to confirm femoral neuropathy and determine the cause so that it can be treated.

Sometimes, the situation is resolved by treating the cause, which may be accomplished with medications, surgery, or physical therapy. In other instances, the damage may be permanent, but it may be possible to arrest it so that it cannot progress, and to help the patient feel more comfortable with the use of electrical stimulation to the nerve, medications, physical therapy, and other courses of treatment. Neurological damage can be tricky to treat, which means that patients and doctors need to be in clear communication about what is working and what is not.

A patient with femoral neuropathy may also benefit from a second opinion, as doctors often have varying approaches to medical conditions and their treatment, and sometimes one doctor's approach may be better suited than that of another. It is usually a good idea to consult a neurologist at some point, as neurologists have the latest information in the field and they may know more than a general practitioner.

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anon311900
Post 5

I have finally tapped on the fact that I have femoral neuropathy as a result of a fall five years ago. Doctors had not be able to figure it out. Tests were limited due to it being a worker's comp case and authorizations were hard to get. I've been suffering this whole time.

I had an EMG, but the femoral nerve was not tested. I have PKD and think it may be affecting the situation or have a retroperitoneal hematoma. What is the best test to find this? Secondly, I am a letter carrier and walk my whole route. I am on limited duty but is walking and stair climbing a pro or con?

LisaLou
Post 4

I have neuropathy in my feet and they haven't been able to figure out the reason yet. I have had a lot of tests done, and nothing has shown up yet.

I think I need to be seen by a different neurologist for a second opinion but am not sure if my regular doctor needs to refer me or if I can make an appointment myself. I know there can be many different reasons for this pain, but I am frustrated they haven't been able to figure out the reason why yet.

sunshined
Post 3

My mom has had several compression fractures in her spine because of osteoporosis. This has also caused her to have neuropathy pain in her legs.

Osteoporosis is something that can be hereditary, so once I turned 50, I began to be tested for it. Your spine can affect so many other areas of your body, and the neuropathy pain is something that really frustrates her.

If the numbness and tingling in her legs is really bad, she has a hard time controlling her leg movement and getting her legs to do what she wants them to.

myharley
Post 2

@SarahSon-- If your neuropathy persists, it might be a good idea to see a neurologist in addition to your regular doctor. When I continued to have leg neuropathy, I wanted to see if the damage was permanent or not.

If it wasn't, I was sure hoping there was something they could do to reverse it, or at least keep it from getting worse. I am glad I didn't wait any longer to get treatment for my nerve pain and feel like I have much better quality of life.

It can be kind of scary when you start having these weird sensations in your feet and legs. I never knew when they were going to come and go, and was always worried that I might fall down and not be able to get back up.

SarahSon
Post 1

I have diabetes neuropathy which usually always affects my right leg. I am right handed and don't know if this has anything to do with it or not.

I have not seen a neurologist for this, but have discussed it with the doctor who treats me for diabetes. He told me this can be common for people with diabetes.

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