How do I know if I have a problem with my lateral femoral cutaneous nerve or if it's something else?

man holding upper thigh in painThe lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, located in the outer thigh, can become compressed and cause symptoms such as burning, tingling, or numbness in the leg. However, other conditions can also cause similar symptoms. Consulting with our Baltimore peripheral nerve specialist can determine if you have lateral femoral cutaneous entrapment, also known as meralgia paresthetica, or another condition. Learn more here.

Symptoms of Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve Entrapment

Lateral nerve entrapment can cause a range of symptoms in the outer part of the thigh. Symptoms typically affect one side of the body and may worsen after standing or walking. Some common symptoms of lateral femoral cutaneous nerve entrapment may include the following:

  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Sensitivity

Meralgia paresthetica is not the only condition that causes these symptoms. If you are experiencing pain and numbness in your thigh, you could also have a muscle tear, overuse injury, or a sprain. A herniated disc in the back, chronic appendicitis, uterine fibroids, or a problem with the hip joint can also produce similar symptoms. It’s important to see a doctor to find out what is causing your symptoms.

Meralgia paresthetica can be caused by trauma or from a condition such as diabetes. Some other causes include:

  • Wearing tight clothing or something heavy such as a tool belt
  • Being obese
  • Gaining weight
  • Wearing something heavy such as a tool belt
  • Pregnancy
  • Past surgery or injury near the inguinal ligament
  • Increase in abdominal pressure due to fluid accumulating

Meralgia Paresthetica Diagnosis and Treatment Options

If you are experiencing discomfort in your outer thigh and have symptoms of meralgia paresthetica, it is essential to see a doctor who can diagnose your condition. The diagnosis and severity of symptoms can determine the proper type of treatment and provide relief from meralgia paresthetica or another condition.

Meralgia paresthetica can be diagnosed through a physical exam and medical history. For some patients, imaging tests or nerve studies may be required to exclude other conditions. Once a diagnosis is made, conservative treatments are first recommended. Conservative measures that can help ease discomfort from lateral femoral cutaneous nerve entrapment include:

  • Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight
  • Wearing clothes that are loose
  • Medication such as over-the-counter pain relievers

In more severe cases that do not respond to conservative measures, nerve decompression surgery may be needed.

Contact Our Maryland Peripheral Nerve Specialist Today

Dr. Williams can help ease your lateral femoral cutaneous nerve symptoms and get you back to living pain-free as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.