Meralgia paresthetica is a disorder characterized by tingling, numbness, and burning pain in the outer side of the thigh. The disorder is caused by compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve as it exits the pelvis. It more commonly occurs in men than women, and is generally found in middle-aged or overweight individuals. People with the disorder frequently report that it appears or worsens after walking or standing. The skin is often sensitive to touch. Meralgia paresthetica is associated with clothing that is too tight, pregnancy, diabetes, and obesity.
Treatment for meralgia paresthetica is symptomatic and supportive and usually involves wearing looser clothing, weight reduction, and avoiding prolonged standing or walking. Gabapentin and other medications may alleviate symptoms. In very few cases in which pain is persistent or severe, surgical intervention may be indicated. In some cases, the disorder may spontaneously disappear.
Meralgia paresthetica usually eases or disappears after treatment. Surgical intervention is not always fully successful.
Prepared by the National Institutes of Health
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