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Femoral neuropathy is also called "crural neuralgia" or "front sciatica." It consists of a pain felt in the thigh due to an impairment of the femoral nerve. This nerve controls a part of the mobility of the thigh as well as the sensitivity of the anterior part. Often, a person with cruralgia believes he has sciatica because both conditions often have the same causes and produce similar pain. The difference is the area of the pain, because it is different nerves that are affected. Cruralgia most commonly affects people over the age of 50. The pain is due to femoral nerve irritation and differs depending on the root that is affected. The cause of cruralgia is a femoral nerve compression at the level of the lumbar vertebrae. Often there is a compression due to the nerve herniation of an intervertebral disc or more rarely, the presence of another compression such as a tumor. A hematoma of the psoas muscle can also compress the femoral nerve.


The cruralgia presents itself as a pain felt in the thigh. The pain is described as burning or electric. Depending on the root damage and the cause of the nerve irritation, pain may be located in different areas up and down the leg.
  • The pain may be located at the outer part of the buttock, the anterior and inner part of the thigh and down the leg in case of infringement of the nerve at the third lumbar vertebra.
  • It may be at the middle part of the buttock, the outer part of the upper thigh, extending along the front of the leg in case of damage of the fourth lumbar vertebra.

In case of damage to the root of the nerve, the pain goes down the lower back: this is called lombocruralgie.


To establish a diagnosis, the doctor asks the patient about pain, its location, the time of occurrence, and the circumstances that trigger it and improve it. Then he proceeds with a clinical examination. The patient lying on his stomach will feel pain triggered by knee flexion. A radiograph of the lumbar spine and a blood test often complement this review.


In case of cruralgia, the absence of significant physical activity is recommended, but full-on immobility should be avoided. The doctor will also prescribe analgesics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Corticosteroid injections may temporarily improve symptoms. Support by physiotherapy also gives good results in most cases. Depending on the identified cause, further treatment may be necessary. Surgery is sometimes attempted in very disabling cases, but does not guarantee the complete disappearance of pain.


There is no real prevention of cruralgia. People regularly carrying heavy loads are however more likely to be affected.

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