Patient Education

To help you understand and navigate through your orthopedic health decisions, we have created a patient education section. Please select from one of the categories below to learn more about your condition or procedure.
Burning Thigh Pain (Meralgia Paresthetica)

Burning thigh pain, often referred to as meralgia paresthetica, is a condition characterized by tingling, numbness, and burning pain in the outer thigh. This is typically caused by compression or damage to the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which supplies sensation to the skin surface of the thigh.

Common Symptoms

  • Burning pain in the outer part of the thigh
  • Tingling or numbness in the affected area
  • Sensitivity to light touch
  • Symptoms worsening with standing or walking
  • Relief of symptoms when sitting

Cause

  • Compression of the nerve: Often due to tight clothing, belts, or obesity.
  • Injury: Direct trauma to the hip or thigh can damage the nerve.
  • Prolonged pressure: Long periods of sitting, especially in tight spaces.
  • Pregnancy: Increased weight and changes in body posture can compress the nerve.
  • Medical conditions: Diabetes and other conditions that affect nerve health.

Diagnosis

  • Physical examination: Assessment of symptoms and medical history.
  • Neurological examination: Checking for sensation and reflexes in the affected area.
  • Imaging tests: MRI or CT scans to rule out other causes of thigh pain.
  • Nerve conduction studies: To assess the function of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.

Prevention

  • Avoiding tight clothing: Wearing loose-fitting clothes to reduce pressure on the nerve.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight: Reducing obesity-related compression.
  • Proper posture: Avoiding prolonged sitting and ensuring good ergonomic practices.
  • Regular breaks: Taking breaks to stand and move around if seated for long periods.

Treatment

  • Lifestyle modifications: Weight loss, avoiding tight clothing, and improving posture.
  • Medications: Pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, or medications for neuropathic pain.
  • Physical therapy: Exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles around the hip and thigh.
  • Nerve blocks: Injections to reduce pain and inflammation around the affected nerve.

Surgery

  • Surgical decompression: Reserved for severe cases where conservative treatments fail. This involves relieving pressure on the nerve.

Rehabilitation

  • Physical therapy: Focused on strengthening, stretching, and improving flexibility.
  • Activity modification: Adjusting activities to avoid exacerbating symptoms.
  • Pain management: Ongoing strategies to manage and reduce pain.

FAQ’s

What triggers meralgia paresthetica?
Triggers include tight clothing, obesity, pregnancy, prolonged standing, walking, or sitting, and direct trauma to the hip or thigh.

How long does it take to recover from meralgia paresthetica?
Recovery time varies. Mild cases may resolve within weeks to months with conservative treatment. Chronic cases may require ongoing management.

Can meralgia paresthetica become permanent?
While many cases resolve with treatment, some can become chronic and require long-term management. Permanent nerve damage is rare but possible.

Is meralgia paresthetica common in athletes?
Yes, athletes can develop this condition due to repetitive motion, prolonged pressure, or injury to the hip and thigh area.

Are there any complications associated with meralgia paresthetica?
Complications are rare but can include chronic pain and numbness. Addressing the underlying causes and symptoms early can prevent complications.

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