Definition

Meralgia paresthetica (burning thigh pain) pertains to a condition defined by a tingling, numbing, and burning pain in the outer thigh.

Diagnosis

Common symptoms of meralgia paresthetica (burning thigh pain) include: numbness and tingling in the thigh's outer part; burning pain in or on the surface of the outer thigh; and sometimes, dull pain in the groin area spreading towards the buttocks. Meralgia paresthetica symptoms typically occur on only one side of the body and may worsen while walking, standing, or moving.

Treatment

In treating meralgia paresthetica (burning thigh pain), the focus is relieving the nerve compression that's causing the symptoms. Initial treatment requires basic self-care steps, such as wearing loose clothing or losing weight. Medications may also be used to treat symptoms, including corticosteroid injections, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs like gabapentin. In rare and severe cases, surgery may be required to decompress the nerves and prevent further complications.

Symptoms

Meralgia paresthetica (burning thigh pain) is caused by a compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, or the nerve that supplies sensation the skin surface of the upper leg. The nerve compression that leads to burning thigh pain may be caused by tight clothing, weight gain, obesity, or pregnancy. In some cases, the condition is caused by a nerve injury arising from trauma or from a disease such as diabetes.

Causes

Diagnosis for meralgia paresthetica (burning thigh pain) is based on physical examination and medical history. To rule out other conditions, X-ray imaging, an electromyography (ECG), and nerve conduction study may also be done.