Meralgia paresthetica is a condition characterized by tingling, numbness and burning pain in the outer part of your thigh. The cause of meralgia paresthetica is compression of the nerve that supplies sensation to the skin surface of your thigh, the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.
Common causes of this compression include any condition that increases pressure on the groin, including:
- Tight clothing
- Scar tissue near the inguinal ligament, due to injury or past surgery
- Walking, cycling or standing for long periods of time
Nerve injury, which can be due to diabetes or seat belt injury after a motor vehicle accident, for example, also can cause meralgia paresthetica.
Pressure on the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which supplies sensation to your upper thigh, may cause these symptoms of meralgia paresthetica:
- Tingling and numbness in the outer (lateral) part of your thigh
- Burning pain in or on the surface of the outer part of your thigh
- Less commonly, dull pain in your groin area or across your buttocks
These symptoms commonly occur only on one side of your body and may intensify after walking or standing.
Procedural options are targeted to where the nerve is compressed. “Hydrodissection” can be used to free up the nerve from adhesions or minor muscular entrapment. With this procedure, saline is injected around the nerve under ultrasound.