What conditions could meralgia paresthetica be mistaken for?

Diagnosing meralgia paresthetica can be difficult.While the numbness, tingling, or burning of meralgia paresthetica is not the kind of thing you can miss (especially if these feelings in your thigh keep you tossing and turning at night), the actual diagnosis of the problem is frequently missed.

Copycat Conditions

A number of conditions resemble meralgia paresthetica closely enough that misdiagnosis is possible. These conditions include:

  • Lumbar radiculopathy. Pain caused by compression or inflammation of a nerve in the spine
  • Trochanteric bursitis. Inflammation of the fluid-filled sac near the hip joint
  • Primary hip disease. Also known as primary osteoarthritis 
  • L2-L3 nerve root lesion or other neuropathies. Can lead to difficulty climbing stairs
  • Chronic appendicitis. Symptoms may come and go but can be quite serious
  • Uterine fibroids. Noncancerous growths of the uterus

With so many conditions with similar symptoms, it is only natural that misdiagnoses can occur. But while it may be to be expected, that is not much comfort when you are the person who is experiencing the symptoms. Fortunately, there are some diagnostic tools that can help.

Identifying the Problem Correctly

Your doctor may order radiographs of your hip in order to determine whether your issue is meralgia paresthetica or another condition. It is also possible that your doctor may use electromyography (EMG) to help make the diagnosis. EMG records electrical activity when a nerve stimulates a muscle and can be used to identify and diagnose neuromuscular abnormalities. The test requires inserting one or more small needles into a muscle and EMG can distinguish meralgia paresthetica from radiculopathy or pain emanating from the hip.

Once the issue has been properly diagnosed, corrective measures can be taken. If the issue is indeed meralgia paresthetica, nerve release surgery may be the most effective solution if more conservative treatment options have not provided relief.

Dr. Eric H. Williams Can Identify and Treat Meralgia Paresthetica

As we have suggested, a correct diagnosis is the first step toward finding relief from meralgia paresthetica. Dr. Williams can provide that diagnosis—and once the problem is properly identified, he can suggest the best path forward. If you have discomfort toward the top of your leg, don’t wait to start the journey toward relief. Contact us today to schedule an appointment

Eric H. Williams MD
Specializing in reconstructive surgery and pain relief in the Greater Baltimore area.