The symptoms of meralgia paresthetica are caused when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve is compressed. This nerve supplies sensation in the anterior and lateral part of the thigh. This can be confused with a lumbar radiculopathy where the anterior thigh has a tingling sensation from a spinal nerve being pinched. Sudden weight gain, such as pregnancy can contribute to this. Tight belts and clothing can lead to compression of this nerve and presents with numbness and burning pain in the front and outside of the thigh.
The symptoms are usually described as a burning sensation and pain on the lateral aspect of the thigh and/or numbness and sensitivity to touch on the outside part of the thigh. Certain positions may cause an exacerbation of symptoms.
The main treatment is modifications. This depends on what the underlying cause is for meralgia paresthetica. Simply loosening your belt and/or pants can help. If due to sudden weight gain, then a weight loss program is recommended. If caused by pregnancy, then in most cases this resolves after birth of the baby. Medications are sometimes used for treatment. Certain neuropathic creams may be indicated to apply over the area of burning pain. Often times, oral steroids or oral nerve pain (neuropathic) medications are necessary. If conservative treatments above do not help solve the problem, a cortisone injection under ultrasound guidance around the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve may be helpful. This injection is performed to help reduce the inflammation around the nerve causing the painful condition. Surgery is rarely indicated however, if required, the surgeon identifies the nerve to investigate the area of compression and the nerve is decompressed to free the pinched nerve.