What is Meralgia Paresthetica? | MedStar Health


overweight woman with pain on outer thigh

Meralgia paresthetica, or Bernhardt-Roth syndrome, can be identified by a sensation of pain, numbness, burning, sensitivity, or tingling on the skin of the outer thigh. This usually occurs as the result of pinching or damage to the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve in the leg that provides sensation to the skin in that area. However, meralgia paresthetica does not affect the mobility of the legs. Symptoms are caused by anything that increases pressure on this nerve, including pregnancy, tight-fitting clothing, excess weight, scar tissue, and even diabetes.

Meralgia paresthetica symptoms can often clear up on their own, with most doctors recommending conservative treatments like wearing loose fitting clothing, healthy lifestyle changes (diet and exercise for weight loss), over-the-counter pain medication, physical therapy, and sometimes antidepressants. Surgery and corticosteroid injections are considered treatment options for patients with severe or persistent symptoms.

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