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.
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.