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What Is Meralgia Paresthetica? Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju
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Sandeep Dhanyamraju MD
Medically reviewed by Sandeep Dhanyamraju

Any person on our planet makes many movements throughout the day. Movement is essential for people. That is why by nature, we have strong legs. They allow us to overcome long distances on foot without problems. But even limbs as strong as legs can fail.

One such failure is thigh pain and numbness. Because of this condition, a person cannot move normally and perform basic functions.

That is why it is extremely important to understand what measures you can take to improve the condition.

In our article, we will tell you about meralgia paresthetica. We will also tell you about the typical symptoms of the disease. And you can also learn how to cure this condition. 

What Is Meralgia Paresthetica?

It is a condition causing tingling, numbness, and burning pain in the outer thigh. It occurs when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN) is compressed or pinched. The LFCN is a sensory nerve that supplies the skin on the lateral aspect of the thigh. The compression of this nerve leads to abnormal sensations and pain.

The condition is also known as:

  • Bernhardt-Roth syndrome.
  • Lateral femoral cutaneous neuropathy.
  • Neuralgia paresthetica.

Thigh pain and numbness is a rare condition that affects approximately 4 in 10,000 people. It is more common in men than women and usually occurs between the ages of 30 and 60.

Meralgia Paresthetica Symptoms

The symptoms of MP usually develop gradually over time. The most common symptoms include:

  • Tingling, numbness, or burning pain on the outer thigh.
  • Hypersensitivity to touch or pressure on the affected area.
  • Pain that worsens with standing, walking, or prolonged sitting.
  • Weakness or difficulty moving the affected leg.
  • Loss of sensation or numbness in the affected area.
  • Skin changes such as thinning, discoloration, or redness.
  • Itching or irritation in the affected area.

The symptoms of MP can be mild or severe and can interfere with daily activities. In some cases, the pain can be so intense that it affects sleep and causes depression and anxiety.

meralgia paresthetica cause

Meralgia Paresthetica Causes

MP is caused by compression or irritation of the LFCN. The nerve runs from the spine, through the groin, and down the outer thigh. Anything that puts pressure on the nerve can cause MP. Some common causes of MP include:

  • Obesity. Extra weight puts pressure on the nerve as it passes through the groin.
  • Tight clothing. Wearing tight clothing such as belts, pants, or corsets can compress the nerve.
  • Pregnancy. The growing uterus can pressure the nerve as it passes through the pelvis.
  • Diabetes. High blood sugar levels can damage the nerve and cause meralgia paresthetica.
  • Injury. Trauma to the thigh or hip can damage the nerve and cause MP.
  • Surgery. Surgery in the hip or groin area can damage the nerve and cause MP.
  • Repetitive motion. Activities that involve repetitive motion of the hip or thigh irritate the nerve.
  • Spinal conditions. Spinal stenosis, herniated disc, etc., can compress the nerve and cause MP.

Risk Factors

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing nerve-thigh pain. These include:

  • Age. MP is more common in people between the ages of 30 and 60.
  • Gender. Men are more likely to develop MP than women.
  • Obesity. Extra weight puts pressure on the nerve and increases the risk of MP.
  • Diabetes. High blood sugar levels can damage the nerve and increase the risk of MP.
  • Pregnancy. The growing uterus can put pressure on the nerve and increase the risk of MP.
  • Certain occupations. Work that needs prolonged standing, walking, or sitting can increase the risk of MP.
  • Tight clothing. Wearing tight clothing such as belts, pants, or corsets can compress the nerve and increase the risk of MP.

Diagnosis of Meralgia Paresthetica

MP is diagnosed through a physical exam and medical history. Your doctor will examine the affected area. And then, they will check for signs of numbness, tingling, or weakness. They may also test your reflexes and muscle strength.

Sometimes, your doctor may order imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI. They are to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms. Electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) can also help determine if there is nerve damage.

Treatment for Meralgia Paresthetica

MP treatment depends on the symptoms’ severity and underlying cause. Sometimes, people need no treatment. It’s because the symptoms may go away independently. But if the symptoms persist or worsen, several treatment options are available.

Lifestyle modifications Making certain lifestyle changes can help ease the symptoms of MP. These may include:

  • Weight loss. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help reduce pressure on the nerve.
  • Clothing modifications. Wearing loose-fitting clothing can help reduce pressure on the nerve.
  • Rest. Resting the affected area can help reduce pain.
Medications Medications can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated with MP. These may include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline can help reduce pain and improve sleep.
  • Anticonvulsants. Medications like gabapentin or pregabalin can help reduce pain by blocking nerve signals.
Physical therapy Physical therapy is another treatment option for meralgia paresthetica. It helps improve the affected area’s strength, flexibility, and mobility. A physical therapist can develop an exercise plan. It targets the specific muscles and nerves involved in MP. They may also use techniques like massage, stretching, or electrical stimulation.
Nerve blocks A nerve block involves injecting a local anesthetic or corticosteroid medication into the affected area to numb the nerve and reduce inflammation. This can provide temporary relief from pain and improve mobility.
Surgery In rare cases, surgery may be helpful in relieving pressure on the nerve. This may involve removing or relocating the nerve or repairing any damage to the nerve.

treatment for meralgia paresthetica

Prevention of Meralgia Paresthetica

Preventing nerve thigh pain involves reducing the risk factors associated with the condition. These may include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Losing weight if you are overweight or obese can reduce pressure on the nerve.
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothing. Avoid tight-fitting clothing. Don’t wear belts, pants, or corsets. This way, you can reduce pressure on the nerve.
  • Taking frequent breaks. Take frequent breaks to reduce pressure on the nerve. It can be useful if your job requires prolonged standing, walking, or sitting.
  • Using proper lifting techniques. When lifting heavy objects, use proper lifting techniques. It can help reduce the risk of injury to the thigh or hip.

What Is the Negative Effect of Meralgia Paresthetica on Life?

Meralgia paresthetica pain can harm a person’s life. It affects their daily activities and well-being.

One of the most significant negative effects is chronic pain and discomfort. The pain and numbness in the outer thigh can be constant or intermittent. It makes engaging in physical activities or even sitting or standing for long periods challenging. This can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. It can have negative consequences on a person’s health and well-being.

Chronic pain and discomfort can also cause sleep disturbances. It leads to insomnia or restless sleep. It can have a negative impact on a person’s mental health and cognitive functioning. It makes it difficult for them to concentrate, stay alert, and make decisions.

Also, meralgia paresthetica pain can have psychological effects. The constant pain and discomfort can cause:

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • A sense of hopelessness.

This can lead to social isolation. Individuals may withdraw from social activities and interactions.

The condition can also affect a person’s ability to work and earn a living. Jobs that need long periods of standing or sitting can exacerbate symptoms. It makes it difficult to perform their job duties effectively. This can lead to financial stress and insecurity. And this can further exacerbate psychological symptoms.

Moreover, nerve thigh pain can negatively impact a person’s quality of life. It leads to reduced physical and social functioning. Individuals may experience limitations in their daily activities. It can be walking, climbing stairs, or driving. This makes it difficult for people to enjoy hobbies and recreational activities. This can lead to feelings of frustration, anger, and disappointment. And eventually, this further exacerbates psychological symptoms.

It is vital to seek proper medical care and develop an individualized treatment plan.

Bottom Line 

As a result, MP is a condition that can cause tingling, numbness, and burning pain in the outer thigh. It is caused by compression or irritation of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. Several factors can also cause MP. They are obesity, tight clothing, pregnancy, injury, and spinal conditions.

Diagnosis of nerve thigh pain involves a physical exam, medical history, and imaging tests. MP treatment depends on the symptoms’ severity and underlying cause.

Preventing MP involves reducing the risk factors associated with the condition. If you experience symptoms of MP, consult a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis.


  • Does meralgia paresthetica ever go away?

It can sometimes go away on its own, but in some cases, it may persist or worsen without proper treatment.

  • What can be mistaken for meralgia paresthetica?

It can be mistaken for other conditions that cause similar symptoms. It can be herniated discs, sciatica, and diabetic neuropathy.

  • How do I know if I have meralgia paresthetica?

You do if you experience numbness, tingling, or burning pain in the outer thigh. Your doctor may perform physical exams and diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis.

  • Can ultrasound detect meralgia paresthetica?

Ultrasound visualizes the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. It’s involved in meralgia paresthetica and can help to diagnose the condition. But nerve conduction studies are often more reliable for confirming the diagnosis.

  • Why should you see a doctor at the slightest symptom of MP?

This is due to the fact that timely help may prevent the further development of the disease. This often helps patients avoid complications of the disease. Also, timely help can completely cut the occurrence of the same disease in the future.

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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
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00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
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15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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