Meralgia Paresthetica

Meralgia Paresthetica
Meralgia Paresthetica


Meralgia Paresthetica is a disorder characterized by tingling, numbness, and burning pain in the outer side of the thigh. The disorder is caused by compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, a sensory nerve to the skin, as it exits the pelvis. People with the disorder often notice a patch of skin that is sensitive to touch and sometimes painful. Meralgia paresthetica should not be associated with weakness or radiating pain from the back.


Meralgia paresthetica results from the compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN). The LFCN is a large sensory nerve. It travels from your spinal cord through your pelvic region and down the outside of your thigh. Meralgia paresthetica symptoms occur when the LFCN is compressed (squeezed).

A variety of factors cause compression of the LFCN. These can include injury to the hip area; medical conditions like obesity, pregnancy, and diabetes; and wearing clothing that is too tight or belts in the waist area.


Many people with meralgia paresthetica experience symptoms including:

• Pain on the outer thigh, which may extend down to the outer side of the knee

• Burning, aching, tingling, stabbing or numbness in the thigh

• Symptoms on only one side of the body

• Worse pain when your thigh is touched lightly

• Worse pain after walking or standing for long periods of time

• Occasionally, aching in the groin that may spread to the buttocks


Treatment for meralgia paresthetica is symptomatic and supportive. The majority of cases improve with conservative treatment by wearing looser clothing and losing weight. Medications used to treat neurogenic pain, such as anti-seizure or anti-depressant medications, may alleviate symptoms of pain. In a few cases, in which pain is persistent or severe, surgical intervention may be indicated.


Meralgia paresthetica usually has a good prognosis. In most cases, meralgia paresthetica will improve with conservative treatment or may even spontaneously resolve. Surgical intervention is not always fully successful.


Courtesy of MedlinePlus from the National Library of Medicine