Meralgia Paresthetica


You probably have yet to hear of Meralgia Paresthetica, and that’s not surprising. It’s a relatively unknown condition involving nerve pain in the outer thigh. But if you’ve experienced an unexplained burning or tingling sensation along your upper leg, this could be what you’re dealing with.

This article explores who is most affected by Meralgia Paresthetica, how common it is, and its typical symptoms. We’ll delve into the causes behind this condition and discuss ways to diagnose it accurately. More importantly, we’ll talk about managing and treating Meralgia Paresthetica effectively to help ease your discomfort. Plus, we’ll share some prevention tips so you can avoid developing this painful problem in the first place.

Finally, we’ll shed light on when to see a healthcare provider if you suspect you might have this condition. Let’s dive in!

What Is Meralgia Paresthetica?

Meralgia Paresthetica, often called Bernhardt-Roth syndrome, is a condition characterised by tingling, numbness, and burning pain in your outer thigh. This type of thigh pain results from compression neuropathy, specifically affecting the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.

You might have heard it called paresthesia, a fancy term for abnormal skin sensations like prickling or tingling.

When you have Meralgia Paresthetica, your nerve gets compressed or ‘pinched,’ typically near where it passes through your groin to the thigh. This pinching causes all those unpleasant symptoms: numbness, a stinging sensation, and even burning pain in some instances.

Don’t fret though! This is usually minor and can be treated effectively with various methods. Also, learn about thigh pain in general; we have a comprehensive guide on the whole thing.

Who does Meralgia Paresthetica affect?

You might wonder, ‘Who’s at risk of this particular nerve disorder?’ Well, Meralgia Paresthetica can affect a wide range of people. However, certain factors increase the likelihood of developing it.

An unrecognisable runner holding her thigh during a run from an unexpected injury.
Photo Credit: Izf, DepositPhotos

For instance, obesity is a significant risk factor because excess weight can pressure the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. Similarly, tight clothing can also cause similar pressure leading to this condition.

Pregnancy is another key factor due to the physical changes in a woman’s body and the extra weight carried around their midsection. If you’re diabetic, you should watch out too as diabetes often leads to various nerve disorders, including Meralgia Paresthetica.

Lastly, an overuse thigh injury from repetitive or intense physical activity may also contribute to its occurrence.

How Common Is Meralgia Paresthetica?

Curious about how often this nerve disorder occurs? Meralgia Paresthetica, also known as lateral femoral nerve entrapment, isn’t as common as you might think. It’s estimated to affect around 4 in 10,000 people.

While it may sound rare, if you’ve ever experienced numbness in your thigh or a tingling sensation on the outside of your leg, you might be one of them.

The causes, symptoms & treatment of Meralgia Paresthetica are crucial to understanding whether you’re dealing with this condition. A big part of managing it is knowing its prevalence and being aware that while it’s not extremely common, it can happen to anyone.

So now that you know how common Meralgia Paresthetica is, ensure you’re familiar with the signs and seek medical help if needed.

Symptoms of Meralgia Paresthetica

Feeling a burning sensation in your thigh lately, or perhaps some numbness creeping up on the outside of your leg? Let’s dive into what these signs might mean. You could be experiencing symptoms of Meralgia Paresthetica, a condition caused by nerve entrapment, particularly the compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. This nerve compression can lead to neuropathy, affecting how you feel sensations in your thigh.

A woman pressing the side of her thigh where a red color indicates the area of pain.
Photo Credit: Kintarapong

Common symptoms include a burning sensation in your thigh and hip pain. Some people also report tingling or numbness on the outside of their leg or around their hip area. In severe Meralgia Paresthetica cases, you might even notice muscle wasting in your thigh.

If you’re dealing with any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment options.

Causes of Meralgia Paresthetica

Understanding what might be triggering your thigh discomfort requires knowledge of the various factors that can lead to nerve compression in the hip area. The condition you’re experiencing, known as Meralgia Paresthetica or entrapment syndrome, results from pressure on the femoral nerve that provides sensation to your upper leg.

There are several common causes:

  1. Obesity: Extra weight can increase pressure on the femoral nerve.
  2. Tight clothing: This can also press on this sensitive region.
  3. Pregnancy: Expectant mothers may experience this due to the baby’s position.
  4. Diabetes: Long-term high blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage.

Physical therapy and pain management techniques are often successful treatments, helping to relieve symptoms and restore mobility in most cases.

Diagnosis and Tests

Suppose you’re experiencing persistent numbness or tingling in your thigh. In that case, it’s important to see a healthcare professional who can perform thorough examinations and tests to pinpoint the source of your discomfort. They may begin by checking the ilioinguinal and iliohypogastric nerve for abnormalities.

Close-up of a gloved doctor checking for a patient's thigh.
Photo Credit: Alona Siniehina

Then, they might recommend a nerve conduction study. This test measures electrical activity in nerves and muscles, helping to identify if the entrapment syndrome is causing your symptoms. Electromyography could be another option; it involves inserting small needles into muscles to record their electrical activity.

If these tests confirm the Meralgia Paresthetica diagnosis, treatment options like surgical decompression can be discussed. Remember, getting an accurate diagnosis is key to managing your symptoms effectively.

Treatment for Meralgia Paresthetica and Its Management

Having discussed how it is diagnosed, let’s move on to its treatment and management.

If you’re dealing with this condition, don’t fret – there are ways to manage it effectively. Treatment often starts with addressing the underlying cause, such as pelvic trauma or hip surgery. After a traumatic event or surgical procedure, nerves can become compressed leading to Meralgia Paresthetica symptoms.

Your doctor may suggest physical therapy exercises to relieve pressure on the nerve and reduce pain. Medications to ease nerve pain may also be used alongside lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight and wearing loose clothing.

Everyone’s case is unique, so your treatment plan will be tailored specifically for you. Stay patient and persistent in managing your condition!


While we can’t always dodge health issues, measures to take help to prevent nerve-related conditions like the one we’ve been discussing. And Meralgia Paresthetica condition is no exception.

Here are three ways you can prevent it:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity increases the likelihood of compressing the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.
  2. Wear loose clothing: Tight pants or belts may pressure your nerves.
  3. Be conscious about posture and movement: Avoid sitting or standing for prolonged periods and incorporate physical activity into your routine.

Remember that prevention is better than cure! So do what you can to keep those nerves happy and healthy.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if you experience persistent discomfort, numbness, or burning in your outer thigh area. It isn’t life-threatening but can significantly affect your daily routine and quality of life. You don’t have to suffer in silence; get the help you need when symptoms persist despite home remedies and lifestyle changes.

A physiotherapist taking notes as a patient sits without an expression in his face.
Photo Credit: Prostooleh

If you notice these symptoms intensifying or if they’re coupled with weakness or drastic weight loss, see a healthcare provider immediately. Such signs could indicate a more serious condition that needs prompt diagnosis and treatment. Remember, early intervention is critical to managing any health concern effectively. So don’t delay—prioritise your health and take action as soon as possible if symptoms of Meralgia Paresthetica arise.


How can I get rid of Meralgia Paresthetica?

Meralgia Paresthetica can often be managed with conservative treatments such as weight loss, wearing loose clothing, and over-the-counter pain relievers. Treatments may include prescription medications, physical therapy, or even surgery in more severe cases.

What triggers Meralgia Paresthetica?

Meralgia Paresthetica is typically caused by compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which can occur due to factors like obesity, tight clothing, pregnancy, or injury to the hip area.

Will Meralgia Paresthetica go away?

Yes, Meralgia Paresthetica can often resolve independently, especially if the underlying cause is addressed. However, in some cases, it may persist and require medical treatment.

How serious is Meralgia Paresthetica?

Meralgia Paresthetica is generally not a serious condition, but it can cause discomfort or pain in the outer thigh. It does not typically generate long-term damage to the nerve or other complications.

What are the symptoms to look for in Meralgia Paresthetica?

Meralgia Paresthetica symptoms include tingling, numbness, and a burning sensation in the outer part of your thigh. The sensation might feel like it’s on the surface of your skin.

Who is at risk for Meralgia Paresthetica?

Individuals who are obese or pregnant are at a higher risk for developing Meralgia Paresthetica. Additionally, people who wear tight clothing or belts, or who have diabetes, are also at increased risk.

Can exercise help Meralgia Paresthetica?

Yes, certain exercises that strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility in the hip area can help alleviate Meralgia Paresthetica and its symptoms. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider or physical therapist to ensure the exercises are done correctly and safely.

Is Meralgia Paresthetica a chronic condition?

Meralgia Paresthetica can be either acute or chronic. Acute cases often resolve on their own or with minimal treatment. Chronic cases may require more intensive treatment and can sometimes persist for months or even years.