Meralgia paresthetica is a neurologic disorder that results in tingling, numbness, and burning pain in the outer side of the thigh.
People with the disorder often notice a patch of skin that is sensitive to touch and sometimes painful.
Sensation in this part of the leg is controlled by the lateral cutaneous nerve. The disorder is caused by compression of this nerve as it exits the pelvis.
Meralgia paresthetica is not associated with muscle weakness or radiating pain from the back. If those symptoms are present, there may be a different underlying cause of the strange feelings.
Treatment for meralgia paresthetica is aimed at relieving symptoms. The majority of cases improve with conservative treatment by wearing looser clothing and losing weight. Many cases of meralgia paresthetica will resolve spontaneously (without treatment).
Medications used to treat neuropathic pain, such as anti-epileptic drugs (anticonvulsants) or antidepressants, may provide pain relief. Surgical intervention may be indicated for those unusual cases when pain is severe and persistent.
Most people with meralgia paresthetic recover well without any long-term consequences.
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Last updated: 5/13/2022