femoral nerve damage

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I am seeking information on femoral nerve damage, as my O.S. who performed left THR on me one month ago has diagnosed me with this. I can find little info on it. I'm especially interested in any studies dealing with recovery time and prognosis for full recovery. Thank you.

-- Deborah Facteau (Duke8659@aol.com), July 03, 2003


If you have any sensation or any ability to extend your knee, the prognosis for recovery are fairly good. Recovery may be incomplete and will certainly take 3 months to a year.

-- Marc Hungerford, M.D. (mhunger@jhmi.edu), July 08, 2003.

Hi, I had a total hip replacment on June 16th, 2003 and have not been able to move my left leg since the day pf surgery! In have been diagnosed with femoral nerve damage. It has been 13 weeks today and the nerve pain is very uncomfortable. My dr gave me 1 1/2 to 2 year recovery at only 60 - 70% recovery rate. What did your dr tell you? It took my dr over 3 months to admit he clamped the nerve during surgery. How are you doing?


-- Margaret J Beach (sprinkgod@sbcglobal.net), September 22, 2003.

I was also diagnosed with femoral nerve palsy (femoral nerve damage) in December or 2002 after a major car accident. I can tell you that the recovery is EXTREMELY slow, as it has now been 10 months since my accident and the nerve still has not fully regenerated. I still have extreme weakness in my left leg and I was unable to have any movement in my leg until 4 months after surgery. It is a long process and many doctors will give you very differnet prognosis' of your recovery but I find the trick is to hang in there and relax. With enough motivation it will come back. Have patience (even during the hard times).

-- diana dimillo (dianadimillo@hotmail.com), October 08, 2003.

i recently had surgery for a herniated disc. i now have the burning and other sensations in my thigh. the skin on my thigh is very sensitive to touch. i was told that the disc had put pressure on the nerve and the nerve had been checked out during surgery and it would take "quite a while" before these feeling would be gone, i'm on vicodin and neurontin at the present time. i dont think any doctor will predict the outcome of nerve recovery. i just take it a day at a time and let time pass without dwelling on it. wish i could be more helpfull. good luck to you

-- (dmwesolowicz@sbcglobal.net), December 08, 2003.

I too had a cervical discectomy with fusion where they fused 2 discs and removed bone spur that was leaning on spinal column. Its been only 3-1/2 weeks but I still have the same pain in my left arm and I wonder how long it will take before the pain is gone. The difference is that the pain changes from mild to sometimes severe, not constant as before the surgery. This site helped because after reading, I see that it could take months or a year or more if there was nerve damage. If anyone has any answers or similar feedback, please feel free to email me. I guess a positive attitude is the answer as well instead of panicking (which I'm doing) that it will always be here. Thank you. Roberta Stern

-- Roberta Stern (berta7@optonline.net), December 27, 2003.


-- JAMES HALCOTT (halco@optonline.net), February 01, 2004.

I had a c-section three years ago and was not able to walk after the surgery. When I tried to walk I would just fall down and could not control my left leg. The surgeon never saw me for a post-op checkup, but I was told by the anesthesiologist that I most likely had my femoral nerve damaged in surgery and would need physical therapy. He said I might never gain full use of my leg. Lucky for me, my OBGYN would not prescribe me therapy until six weeks after my surgery.I went to therapy for 5 months and was able to walk again, however steps are a problem. I feel lots of weakness and pain when I walk up or down steps and my knee buckles. I have never been to a neurologist to have a diagnosis. I am becoming more disdained with the whole situation.

-- Natalie Koep (NSK@prisage.com), February 04, 2004.

Hi due to tumor i had a operation in oct 03 this resulted in me losing a large portion of my psoas muscle and a portion of the femoral nerve.I recived a graft from my left lower leg to the affected area and have been told that the nerve grows very slowly and could take four years to get the movement back.I have no feeling in the thigh, knee area and a numb front lower leg and wear a leg brace for movement, with thanks craig

-- craig dobson (craig.dobson@ntlworld.com), February 15, 2004.

Hi,i'm rather new at this so please be patient.isurvived a car accident with many injuries,my left shoulder left upper arm,left hip,left lower leg,right femor and my right knee were all broken,i have no cast nor did i it was all metal put in me .so yes i know about pain and the things you use to be able to do and can't .i have trouble doing regular things like walking ,stairs sitting down and getting back up.the accident was may 11 of 2002,i'm still having the same problems but i came from learning to walk all over again which was very difficult and painful with the therapy also.i have to wonder how much longer and what else do i got to go thru?thank you for listening i needed to get this out.pam mitchell

-- Pamela Mitchell (PmMitc@aol.com), April 02, 2004.

Isn't it fun ? The EMG's...pain from the nerve damage. I had a THR left side on 12-4-03 and did extremely well. Then had THR on right side and suffered a "stretch" injury to the femoral nerve. It only took 3 weeks for the pain, cramping & burning to set in. This is a "first" for my orthopaedic surgeon. Lucky me. Hang in there...I am advised it will be up to 20months for a full recovery. The Dr. who performed the EMG highly recommended Neurontin for the pain. I have just begun taking it in small doses & gradually increasing. Will see if it makes a difference.

-- Heather (heather@lcsi.net), April 18, 2004.

I had a laminectomy in Oct, 2003. About six weeks ago I started with the burning in my thigh, and it extends up into my abdomen. I also am on neurontin and tramadol. Want to get off it, but am afraid that the pain will become unbearable. Some days really good, other days very bad. I am undergoing a second round of PT and it really does seem to help. The first therapist was not that great. Have gone to another clinic and they are super! Really seem to want to solve the problem. He stretches my femoral nerve and it really does help. I also do exercises at home. Sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn't. Wish we all had answers. Has anyone gone off neurontin and did it seem to make a difference? Because of the compression on my nerves, I also have some neuropathy in my feet. The left foot is much worse. The neurontin really helped that -- so I guess that is why I am afraid to go off it. Any insight? Hope you all are a having a better day! Emails welcome.

-- Joellyn Leasure (tsljo@aol.com), April 20, 2004.

Hello , My wife went into surgery for three hernias ,Two Bilateral Inguinal Hernias and One Umbilical Hernia,during the surgery she received general anesthesia and also two nerve blocks in her groin, (The blocks were given as pain management - we were told). When she awoke from from the surgery in the recovery room she stated that she could not move or feel her legs. We were told by the anesthesiologist it was the nerve block and that it would wear off soon. About a hour later she regained movement and feeling in her right leg , but the left leg stayed the same, no movement or feeling of the leg but she could move her foot a little, and has feeling in some parts of her lower foot. She stayed in the hospital for five days and they told us that they donít know exactly what happened, the surgeons said it was the nerve block and the anesthesiologist said it could have been the surgeon or the blocks. We were concerned about the femoral nerve being cut, and they told us that she has feeling in her foot so its could not be cut, then we found out from another Dr. that the nerve for the foot in connected to the sciatic nerve , not the femoral nerve, and that it could have been cut. While in the hospital they gave her a pelvic MRI and ruled out any hematomas pushing up on the nerve. It has been Two months now and her condition has not gotten any better , and she receives physical therapy two times a week. We went for an (EMG) and an (NCV) test three and half weeks after the surgery.The test showed that she has severe femoral nerve damage, but nobody is telling us what actually happened. Then we went for another EMG test 6 weeks out, and It showed the same thing , no improvement. or how long this will last , or if it will get better at all. She is 32 years of age in excellent health. She is wearing a plastic fitted half cast around her foot that goes up to her calf to keep her foot from dragging, she is wearing a leg brace that goes from the groin to her ankle with metal rods on the sides that keeps her leg from buckling , and she swings the leg slowly and walks with a walker. If she is lying down on her back or sitting and try's to lift the leg it does not move , as far as feeling , she does not have feeling from her groin all the way to her foot , but has feeling on the back of her leg. Have you heard of this happening before or can you please point us in the right direction.

-- Guy Pennisi (pguy1@si.rr.com), April 27, 2004.

I just had a baby 4 weeks ago. I too could not walk hours after delivery. They decided it is femoral nerve compression (per EMG). I found a WONDERFUL doctor who told me damage like this is fully recoverable and happens a lot in first time mothers due to pushing for an extensive amount of time or due to the location of the baby's head in the pelvis. (It was probably sitting on the femoral nerve). She told me recovery time is approx 3-4 mos. when this happens from having a baby. She has other patients with the same problem and they all have fully recovered. I too am going to physical therapy. I have problems with stairs, knee buckiing and can not lift my leg up from lying down or sitting up in a chair.

-- PMW (pwroble@yahoo.com), May 16, 2004.

Hi everyone - I happened on to this site looking for femoral nerve compression info. My daughter was born August 2002. I was unable to walk unassisted for about 1 month after her delivery - no feeling and total weakness in both legs. I completed physical therapy about 8 weeks later and was able to climb stairs again. My daughter is now 22 months old and I still don't have any more feeling in my left leg than I had at the end of physical therapy. I am going to see a chronic pain therapist tonight to give that a shot (basically targeted massage therapy.) I am willing to try anything at this point. Reading other posts I am thankful I don't have any pain. However, I was never warned of this happening at delivery. Because of the epidural, I had no feeling at all during the pushing stage and did not realize my legs were completely numb. I am curious to see how long complete recovery will take (if I get the feeling back.) I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar occurance at least 2 years ago?

-- Lisa LeBlanc (jleblanc4760@wowway.com), June 03, 2004.

Hi All I get so mad when I read some of these posts!!!! Why don't the doctors tell us what's going on. Why do we have to surf the net looking for answers,,,Thank god we do have the internet though so we don't feel so alone and confused, Most of us were just fine before our surgerys and I dont think any of us knew that there was a risk of such serious nerve damage,My surgeon says he doesn't know what happened, I quit going to him 4 months ago and now all of a sudden he is calling me at home, I think he is afraid I will try to sue him, It is almost impossible to sue a dr,I just want an honest answer, It has been nearly 8 months for me, I am still in alot of pain, have a paralized ankle and severe foot drop. I am on percoset and neurotin for pain, wear an afo (that I hate) and when barefoot have to use a walker or I will fall over, *(fell 3 times now) Poor me,,,,ha ha Guess we all have to be patient but it's so hard to just wake up everyday and wonder if your body works Good luck to everyone here,,,,we are not alone

-- Diane from Seattle (aladin806@peoplepc.com), June 07, 2004.

I had a total hip replacement 6 weeks ago also with femoral nerve damage. I have absolutely no function of the quadriceps and am numb over the front middle of my leg. My doctor also says it is the first time he has seen this! I just had a "nerve exploration" done (EMG shows zero conduction) and no physical damage was found, so the working hypothesis is "nerve stretched". I am also extremely interested in recovery time and prognosis for full recovery since I am an avid skier and rock climber (or was, anyway). The doctors so far are only able to suggest "months" without any more detail.

-- Paul Harvey (pmh@astro.as.utexas.edu), June 11, 2004.


And I thought I was the only one with a femoral nerve palsy problem after a simple day surgery for inguinal hernia.

After surgery I woke up to find my left leg "useless". I was told I had femoral nerve palsy. The anaethesist apologised to me the next morning for the palsy and assured me all will be well. The hospital waved my first class ward charges for staying overnight and all my bills were changed from first class to B1 class. The hospital service was superb, nurses were very nice and doctors very concerned. "Sue the doctors" my family members urged. How could I - the hospital staff were all so nice! I am sure it was an honest mistake.

Anyway, 3 weeks later, today.... my left leg is weaker - can't walk fast. I get the numbs in the left leg after sitting down for an hour or so.

Will this problem become permanent? I hope to hear from anyone with similiar problem


-- johnny ho (johnnyho@singaporean.per.sg), June 12, 2004.

I, too, suffered peripheral nerve compression during the delivery of my son two years ago (similar to Lisa and PMW's experiences). None of my doctors had ever seen a case like mine with paralysis in both legs. I got varying prognoses from doctors ranging from 3 months to a year before I'd fully recover. No physical therapy was prescribed, just rest and time to let the nerves regenerate. I was extremely lucky and was able to walk again unassisted for short distances after about 2 months, but it took another month before I was able to walk down the stairs without a leg buckling. It was a frightening experience. At 4 months I had essentially recovered fully. I still, at times of great stress or exhaustion, feel like my legs might give out again. I wish everyone on this message board a speedy recovery. Good luck!

-- Julie Dees (jbdees2@comcast.net), June 29, 2004.

Hello Deborah,

I'm sorry to hear of your situation. I may have a similar experience with femoral nerve damage but from a laproscopic inguinal hernia repair about two years ago. In my situation the inguinal nerve was also damaged.

I have seen two pain management doctors due to health plan changes and both have suggested a spinal nerve block for the femoral nerve. I have had four inguinal nerve block through the abdomen, all with limited success for different lengths of time.

The prognosis from both pain doctors regarding long term recovery has been vauge at best, ranging from surgery to cut and cap the nerve somewhere along its path resulting in permanent nunbness to the most recent idea is to try to "burn" the inside of the nerve with Phenol (?) to kill the nerve but save the outside....just a little concerned about the accuracy. On that subject I have learned a little about skill level for nerve blocks . Your pain management doctors skill level with injections can have a huge outcome in the results and the final determination if that method of treatment should be continued.

I will be seeing my Dr. in the next few weeks to discuss a femoral nerve block and will share the results if interested.

best wishes and regards

-- John Raquet (villaleslie@aol.com), July 27, 2004.

Hi! I am so glad I found this page. Like Heather of the 4/18 post, I had a THR-left that went fine. Got up, walked all over the place (with my walker), and amazed everybody. This was in January. So, when I went in for the right THR in May, I had high, probably unrealistic, expectations for recovery. After all I'm young (for THR- -I'm 36), healthy, did great the first time--all should be hunky dory, right???? WRONG!!! When they got me up to walk that afternoon, I couldn't make my right leg move, and it was EXTREMELY weak.

I was devastated. I tried to hide it, but my dad saw it in my face, I was afraid I would never walk again. I finally managed to walk enough for my surgeon to let me out of the hospital--I think the threat of having to stay in the hospital over a Memorial Day weekend made me do it! :-)

I started physical therapy and had my first follow up and everybody thought that I just had very weak muscles. But something was wrong. The pain was intense. I was falling down sometimes without warning. I was given stronger pain meds and told to be patient. After about 4 weeks of this, I called and requested (demanded??) an MRI. The radiologists that read the MRI said that there was a torn tendon, my quadriceps tendon was "wavy" and my patella was out of place slightly.

2 weeks later I went for follow up with my surgeon. He didn't think it was a torn tendon. He was hoping for that, as it could be easily fixed after I recovered enough from the THR. He thought it was nerve damage. I went for the EMG and nerve conduction studies, and guess what??? Femoral nerve damage---there was no impluses getting through to the quadriceps muscles.

My doc, like some of yours, said he had never seen it before. He believes that mine was due to the extremely hard time he had getting my hip out of socket.

Anyway, now I'm in an immobilizer when I walk (or using my walker), taking Neurontin and Ultracet for pain. I am using a neuromusclar stimulator to help prevent atrophy. I am doing physical therapy to that end also, but my insurance probably won't pay for anymore visits. Swimming is also an excellent exercise for this, as there is virtually no gravity in water and you can move more normally and work the muscle groups affected.

As for recovery, I am told that it takes about 12 weeks after the nerve injury for the nerve to begin healing, if it will. The nerve will heal at about a millimeter a day. Recovery time is about a year. However, there is no guarantee of recovery, and the leg will probably never be completely "normal". But, hey, obviously the leg wasn't normal to begin with, or we wouldn't have had THR.

As to the gentleman that was asking about skiing and rock climbing--- ARE YOU CRAZY??? Do you want this joint to last and to stay in socket??? The motion of skiing would wear the joint quickly, even if it is the new Stryker joint that I have, cutting the lifetime of the joint short, requiring a new joint sooner than what would be necessary. Both activities would put the joint in unnatural positions that could result in dislocation. My advice---have a long talk with your doc before you decide to participate in these activities.

Sorry my post is long, but I wanted to fit it all in. E-mail me if you wish, I will share anything I know/find out if you will.

-- Sharon Nix (mycorner@bellsouth.net), August 04, 2004.

Hi, If any of you has a cut nerve, there is only a small window of time when the nerve can be sown back together. I have found one nuerosurgeon who accually can bridge a gap with another nerve, but he is specializing in nerves damaged after prostate surgery. Sexual dysfuntion. There are some geniuses out there but you have to look. His site is: http://www.drnathimpotencesurgery.com/surgery/index.asp It is amazing that people have to search the web for the info that there doctor should be giving them. But it was just a few years ago that all of you would have been told that you needed a phsyciatrist cause the pain was obviosly in your head! mike

-- Mike Sherard (msherard@Foxinternet.net), August 16, 2004.

I am reading the answers with my mouth almost hitting the floor. Recovery time 12 weeks to 4 years? My God, you've got to be kidding me. I was kicked by a horse Jan. 21, o4 in the top left thigh. I've seen 3 otho docs, a rhematologist, and an osteopathic doc. Everyone kept trying cortizone shots for bursitis in my hip, one told me I had a labral tear in the hip joint, another said I had severe tendonopathy. Finally, the last ortho doc said he thinks I should see a neurologist. I am an avid runner, 52 yrs. old and my last 10 months have been shot to hell as I try to run and get in enough miles to be competitive. However, when I run it's hard to pick up my left foot and leg. When I sit, I can barely lift my foot and leg off the floor. The ortho doc thinks I have damage to my femoral nerve. So all of the people with this kind of nerve damage just take pain meds and that's it? There's no fix for this? The thought of never running another half or full marathon again just makes me want to throw up. I've been running for 33 years, the last 10 competitively. I quess I'll keep running in pain as I've done before with other injuries. The only difference with this one is I quess it won't get fixed.

-- Lizabeth Garwood (Garl52@cs.com), October 14, 2004.


Your statements have been very interesting reading. I had a left hip revision December 17, 2004. I then dislocated 3 times in a row. Another revision occurred January 11, 2005. I woke up with a "dead leg".

The neurologist was called immediately. Tests showed the same as for many of you: no enervation of the quadriceps. MRI showed the nerve intact so I am hoping for a full recovery.

So far, I am getting movement throughout my leg except for the quads. I am not bearing weight on the left leg as I experience the buckling several of you mentioned.

I was told 6 to 12 months to begin to walk without crutches and another 6-8 months to walk "normally".

I'm interested in any information anyone has on how long it has actually taken to recover and what anyone did specifically to aid recovery. Has anyone tried acupuncture?

Thank you.

Strike Fongeallaz

-- Strike Fongeallaz (strike767@earthlnk.net), February 08, 2005.


Your statements have been very interesting reading. I had a left hip revision December 17, 2004. I then dislocated 3 times in a row. Another revision occurred January 11, 2005. I woke up with a "dead leg".

The neurologist was called immediately. Tests showed the same as for many of you: no enervation of the quadriceps. MRI showed the nerve intact so I am hoping for a full recovery.

So far, I am getting movement throughout my leg except for the quads. I am not bearing weight on the left leg as I experience the buckling several of you mentioned.

I was told 6 to 12 months to begin to walk without crutches and another 6-8 months to walk "normally".

I'm interested in any information anyone has on how long it has actually taken to recover and what anyone did specifically to aid recovery. Has anyone tried acupuncture?

Thank you.

Strike Fongeallaz

-- Strike Fongeallaz (strike767@earthlink.net), February 08, 2005.

Hi. I am scared. I had a spur-of-the-moment heart catheterization a week + ago and have had terrible weakness in legs, plus a heaviness. And 'zapping' in the groin legs and more. My wife and son are disabled so I am the breadwinner and insurance provider.

-- R I (sendtous@cox.net), March 07, 2005.

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