Meralgia Paresthetica

Sometimes my specialty intersects with other specialties like Neurology.  

Meralgia paresthetica is usually suspected when an individual complains of numbness, burning sensation and tingling on the outer thigh.  There is the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve that is being compressed or squeezed which is responsible for supplying sensation to the skin region on the thigh area. This nerve runs along the groin area/inguinal region into the outer thigh and affects sensory but not motor function.

A person may feel exacerbation of these symptoms on one side after walking or standing.

Risk factors:

–          Obesity

–          Pregnancy

–          Very tight clothing (pants, belts)

–          Local trauma (seat belt injury)

–          Diabetes

Usually the physician may make the diagnosis based on clinical history and physical examination can make the diagnosis.  Hip Xray can exclude other conditions like osteoarthritis.

  • EMG and nerve conduction studies will rule out inflammatory myositis.
  • Nerve blockade by ultrasound can confirm the diagnosis.

Conservative treatment measures include:

  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Losing excess weight

Other treatment options:

  • Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), Naproxen, Ibuprofen
  • Steroid injections
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Gabapentin/Neurontin 
  • Lyrica (Pregabalin) 
  • For severe symptoms, decompression surgery