Meralgia paresthetica is a condition that occurs when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, located in the outer thigh, becomes compressed. Treatment for the condition depends on its severity and how long symptoms persist. Some patients may need surgery, while others can find relief through conservative treatments. If you are experiencing symptoms, consult with our Baltimore peripheral nerve specialist to determine what type of treatment will work best for your specific needs.
Factors That Cause Meralgia Paresthetica
The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve is a sensory nerve responsible for providing sensation to the sides and front of the thigh. It does not control muscle movement. When this nerve becomes compressed, it can cause symptoms such as aching, burning, numbness, tingling, or sensitivity to light touch in the thigh area. The pain may worsen after walking or standing, and symptoms may only be present on one side of the body.
There are various factors that can cause compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, such as:
- Hip injury
- Repetitive leg motion
In addition, wearing clothing or heavy belts that are tight in the waist area can also contribute to the condition since they can compress the nerve.
Meralgia Paresthetica Treatment Options
If you have signs of meralgia paresthetica, consulting with a nerve specialist for an evaluation can help determine the cause of your symptoms. To prepare for your appointment, you will want to make sure you have a list of your current medications and a summary of your medical history and type of symptoms you are currently experiencing.
To confirm that other conditions are not causing your symptoms, a physical exam will be done, and imaging tests or nerve studies may be ordered. Once other conditions are ruled out, a diagnosis of meralgia paresthetica can be made. You can trust that Dr. Williams will properly diagnose if the condition is meralgia paresthetica and determine the underlying cause of the nerve compression, so he can recommend the most effective treatment options. At your appointment with Dr. Williams, you will want to mention any concerns you may have and ask questions, so you can make an informed decision about your care. You may want to discuss whether conservative treatments will be effective and what type of outcome you can expect.
Conservative Treatment Options
- Physical therapy. Certain physical therapy exercises and stretches can be done to strengthen the muscles of the buttocks and legs to reduce injury to the hips and relieve pain and symptoms.
- Weight loss. Losing weight can take pressure off the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve and help reduce or eliminate symptoms.
- Clothing modification. Wearing less restrictive clothing and belts that are not too tight around the waist can help eliminate painful symptoms.
Treatment Options for Severe Pain
- Corticosteroid injections
- Anticonvulsant medications
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Surgery to decompress the nerve or remove it completely
If meralgia paresthetica is left untreated, it can cause an increase in pain and other symptoms. Meralgia paresthetica symptoms can interfere with daily activities and the ability to walk without pain. With proper treatment, most patients are able to fully recover from meralgia paresthetica.
Contact Our Peripheral Nerve Specialist
If you are experiencing signs of meralgia paresthetica and are looking for treatment options, contact our office for an evaluation. Dr. Williams can accurately diagnose the cause of your symptoms, answer any questions you may have, create a treatment plan to prevent possible complications, and help you return to living pain-free as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Williams, reach out to us at 410-709-3868, or contact us online.