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Key Features

  • The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, a sensory nerve arising from the L2 and L3 roots, may be compressed or stretched in obese or diabetic patients and during pregnancy

  • Hyperextension of the hip or increased lumbar lordosis—as during pregnancy—leads to nerve compression by the posterior fascicle of the ligament

  • However, entrapment of the nerve at any point along its course may cause similar symptoms, and several other anatomic variations predispose the nerve to damage when it is stretched

Clinical Findings

  • Symptoms are usually mild and commonly settle spontaneously

  • Pain, paresthesia, or numbness occurs about the outer aspect of the thigh, usually unilaterally, and is sometimes relieved by sitting

  • Pain stops at the knee, unlike the pain from lower lumbar sciatica that radiates to the foot

Diagnosis

  • Examination shows no abnormalities except in severe cases when cutaneous sensation is impaired in the affected area

Treatment

  • Hydrocortisone injections medial to the anterosuperior iliac spine often relieve symptoms temporarily

  • Nerve decompression by transposition may provide more lasting relief but is rarely indicated

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