Femoral nerve excursion with knee and neck movements in supine, sitting and side-lying slump: An in vivo study using ultrasound imaging

Eva Sierra-Silvestre*, Francesca Bosello, Josué Fernández-Carnero, Marco J.M. Hoozemans, Michel W. Coppieters

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Neurodynamic assessment and management are advocated for femoral nerve pathology. Contrary to neurodynamic techniques for other nerves, there is limited research that quantifies femoral nerve biomechanics. Objectives: To quantify longitudinal and transverse excursion of the femoral nerve during knee and neck movements. Design: Single-group, experimental study, with within-participant comparisons. Methods: High-resolution ultrasound recordings of the femoral nerve were made in the proximal thigh/groin region in 30 asymptomatic participants. Scans were made during knee flexion in supine and a semi-seated position, and during neck flexion in side-lying slump (Slump FEMORAL). Healthy participants were assessed to reveal normal nerve biomechanics, not influenced by pathology. Data were analysed with one-sample and paired t-tests. Reliability was assessed with intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). Results: Longitudinal and transverse excursion measurements were reliable (ICC≥0.87). With knee flexion, longitudinal femoral nerve excursion was significant and larger in supine than in sitting (supine (mean (SD)): 3.6 (2.0) mm; p < 0.001; sitting: 1.1 (1.6) mm; p = 0.001; comparison: p = 0.001). There was also excursion in a medial direction (supine: 1.4 (0.3) mm; p < 0.001; sitting: 0.7 (0.6) mm; p < 0.001) and anterior direction (supine: 0.2 (0.2) mm; p < 0.001; sitting: 0.1 (0.2) mm; p = 0.06). Neck flexion in Slump FEMORAL did not result in longitudinal (0.0 (0.3) mm; p = 0.55) or anteroposterior (0.0 (0.1) mm; p = 0.10) excursion, but resulted in medial excursion (1.1 (0.5) mm; p < 0.001). Conclusion: Although the femoral nerve terminates proximal to the knee, femoral nerve excursion in the proximal thigh occurred with knee flexion; Neck flexion in Slump FEMORAL resulted in medial excursion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-63
Number of pages6
JournalMusculoskeletal Science and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • Neurodynamics
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Neuropathy
  • Sonography


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