Meralgia Paresthetica

What is Meralgia Paresthetica?

Meralgia Paresthetica is an isolated nerve condition primarily affecting the outer thighs. When blood circulation or nerve connections to these areas is interrupted, numbness and tingling sets in and can persist for hours or even days.

It’s primarily caused by damage to the nerves in the thigh area. Reasons for nerve damage include the wearing of overly tight pants, fat accumulation, traumatic injury to the area, neuropathy caused by diseases like diabetes, and standing for hours on end.

What are the Symptoms of Meralgia Paresthetica?

Meralgia paresthetica results in numbness along the surface of the outer thighs along with other symptoms.

Symptoms include

  • Pain and tenderness in the area before, after, or during the numbness
  • Increased sensations in response to lighter touches rather than firmer pressure
  • Burning and tingling over the surface of the skin
  • Sensitivity to heat or even warmth in the thigh area

Symptoms may come and go depending on how much pressure is being exerted on the nerves in the thigh. Other more serious causes of nerve symptoms are ruled out with imaging and nerve conduction testing before a diagnosis of meralgia paresthetica is confirmed.

How is Meralgia Paresthetica Treated?

Changing to loose clothing and remove tight belts or shoes can relieve short-term causes of this condition. For more long-lasting symptoms, you may need to lose weight or get cortisone injections to numb the inflamed nerves.

Exercise can be difficult with thigh numbness and pain, but it is one of the best treatments for restoring nerve and blood flow to the area. Only cases with confirmed nerve entrapment in the hip or groin area will respond positively to surgery.

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Last Reviewed:
October 07, 2016
Last Updated:
August 31, 2017