The obturator nerve begins at the medial border of the psoas major muscle. It travels through the obturator foramen before entering the thigh, where it branches into two parts, an anterior branch and posterior branch. The obturator nerve is part of the group of nerves called the anterior lumbar plexus. The nerve provides sensory function to the skin of the medial side of the thigh. It also provides motor function to the hip and knee joints and the abductor muscles and gracilis. The obturator nerve can be damaged through injury to the nerve itself or to surrounding muscle tissue. This type of injury can occur during household or car accidents and it can also happen accidentally during abdominal surgery. A damaged obturator nerve can cause pain, numbness, and weakness of the thigh. Mild damage to the obturator nerve can be treated with physical therapy. More severe cases may require surgery. The nerve can regenerate itself at a rate of about one inch per month.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Obturator nerve