In most cases diagnosis is made by history and physical examination. If you trace the area of pain or burning over the outer leg and have one of the mechanisms of compression listed above then there is a good shot that you’re lateral femoral cutaneous nerve the culprit.
In more difficult cases there are several special tests that can be performed to obtain a diagnosis. These are generally performed when looking for causes of pain other than mechanical such as a tumor.
Nerve Conduction Velocity Test– Electrical pads measure the impulses generated by the nerves to detect damage.
Nerve blocks– Injection of anesthetic around the nerve to dull the pain. If your groin or outside leg pain has disappeared then you have a diagnosis. This isn’t a treatment, but a test to determine if it’s indeed the nerve causing the problem.
X-rays– This isn’t used to diagnose, but rather to exclude pathology such as tumors.
Skin tenderness– skin rolling and movement of the cutaneous nerve by pulling on the skin will be more tender on the painful side. Skin rolling is also a powerful and easy way to treat these unhappy skin nerves.
Functional Testing– Performing dynamic movement tests such as gait analysis, squat biomechanics, and lunging mechanics can recreate pain and also give the cause.