Meralgia Paresthetica

What is meralgia paresthetica? 

Meralgia paresthetica is numbness and tingling in the lateral thigh secondary to compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve as it runs over the inguinal ligament.

It commonly occurs in obese or pregnant patients.

It can also be caused by placing hard objects in the pockets of pants with a low waistline such as so-called low rider jeans.

Meralgia (Greek for “pain in the thigh”) paresthetica results when the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh, a sensory nerve (L-2 and L-3), is compressed at the inguinal ligament just medial to the anterior superior iliac spine. This syndrome results in burning pain and dysesthesia over the anterolateral thigh. Direct pressure of the nerve where it exits the pelvis can increase symptoms. Common causes include obesity, pregnancy, trauma, surgical injury (appendectomy or inguinal herniorrhaphy), tight-fitting clothing (belts), and diabetes mellitus. This syndrome is usually self-limiting, and treatment is conservative, involving weight loss, avoidance of tight clothing, and occasional local steroid injections at the site of compression.


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