What is meralgia paresthetica?
Meralgia paresthetica is a disorder characterized by tingling, numbness, and burning pain in the outer side of the thigh. The disorder occurs when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve is compressed or squeezed as it exits the pelvis. This is a sensory nerve to the skin, so people with the disorder often notice a patch of skin that is sensitive to touch and sometimes painful. Meralgia paresthetica should not be associated with weakness or pain that radiates from the back.
Treatment aims to relieve symptoms and provide support. The majority of cases improve by wearing looser clothing and losing weight. Drugs used to treat neurogenic pain, such as antiseizure or antidepressant drugs, may relieve pain. In a few cases, severe pain or pain that won't go away may require surgery. In most cases, the disorder will improve with lifestyle changes or may even go away on its own.
How can I or my loved one help improve care for people with meralgia paresthetica?
Consider participating in a clinical trial so clinicians and scientists can learn more about meralgia paresthetica and related disorders. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease.
All types of volunteers are needed—those who are healthy or may have an illness or disease—of all different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that study results apply to as many people as possible, and that treatments will be safe and effective for everyone who will use them.
For information about participating in clinical research visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. Learn about clinical trials currently looking for people with meralgia paresthetica at Clinicaltrials.gov.