Femoral nerve damage can be due to various factors. The femoral nerve is responsible for conveying nerve impulses from the leg up to the spinal cord. The motor nerves supply the muscles of extension which enable the legs to straighten at the knees. The sensory nerves obtain feedback from the front aspect of the thigh and inferior leg which allows the brain to perceive pressure or pain. The femoral nerve damage can disrupt the ability of the individual walk properly.
Trauma to the femoral nerve
Sustaining a direct injury is one of the typical causes of femoral nerve damage. Take note that this often occurs due to fractures on the pelvic region during vehicular accidents or falls.
The femoral nerve leaves the spinal cord between the lower lumbar vertebrae and descends to the front part of the pelvis to supply the anterior region of the leg. Due to its closeness to the pelvis, it is susceptible to injury once the pelvic bones are damaged.
Pressure on the nerve can lead to damage to the insulating layer or myelin sheath that protects it or the fibers of the nerve itself are damaged, thus preventing proper conduction of the nerve impulses. The femoral nerve can be crushed by pressure from a muscle or due to the development of a tumor in the neighboring tissues.
Ischemia is described as the lack of blood flow to the bodily tissues that require oxygen. If there is lack of oxygen, the cells will end up damaged or even die. Certain conditions that lead to a reduced flow of blood such as impingement on the blood vessels can result to ischemia that leads to femoral nerve damage.
Various conditions can lead to damage to the nerves all over the body. A good example is diabetic neuropathy in which excess blood sugar impairs the blood vessels and nerves. It can cause symptoms such as numbness, muscle weakness and pain in the appendages as well as walking difficulties.
Surgeries on the pelvis region involving structures close to the femoral nerve can oftentimes result to femoral nerve damage. In some cases, the placement of a catheter into the femoral artery can oftentimes cause damage to the nerve.