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  • Updated 01.24.2019
  • Released 11.21.1997
  • Expires For CME 01.24.2022

Femoral neuropathy

Introduction

This article includes discussion of femoral neuropathy, femoral mononeuropathy, and femoral nerve injury. The foregoing terms may include synonyms, similar disorders, variations in usage, and abbreviations.

Key points

• Femoral neuropathy presents, often acutely, with thigh weakness, numbness, and variable pain. Hip flexion weakness is observed in more proximal lesions.

• Examination typically reveals weakness of knee extension with absent or depressed knee jerk and normal thigh adduction.

• Most femoral neuropathies are caused by iatrogenic compression of the nerve either in the pelvis or beneath the inguinal ligament.

• Isolated femoral neuropathy in diabetics is an extremely rare occurrence.

• Nerve conduction studies and needle EMG are useful for diagnostic and prognostic purposes.

Historical note and terminology

Early published literature led many to believe that diabetes mellitus is associated with selective femoral neuropathy. It is now clear that isolated femoral neuropathy in diabetics is rare, and most reported cases were mislabeled, actually having diabetic amyotrophy or radiculoplexopathy. Diabetic amyotrophy has become more widely recognized and, therefore, both clinically and electrophysiologically, no reliable reports of isolated diabetic femoral neuropathy have been published during the last 3 decades.

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