Meralgia Paraesthetica (MP) is a nerve entrapment of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, also known as the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh (LCNT). You may feel pain, burning, tingling, numbness, and/or coldness at the side of the thigh. MP most commonly presents in 30 to 40 year old individuals and is more prevalent in those with Diabetes Mellitus.
The scarcity of research and lack of consensus on the recognition and management has made MP a challenge to diagnose and treat. If you suffer from pain in the distribution of the LCNT, MP should be considered as a potential cause if the more common diagnoses such as a nerve root problem of the lower back or hip bursitis have been ruled out.
Compression of the nerve most commonly occurs as it exits the pelvis. MP has been classified as mechanical or metabolic, or as a post-surgical complication of the hip or spine.
Mechanical factors can result in compression of the LCNT along its anatomical course and has been related to the following factors:
• Obesity (BMI > 30)
• Tight garments such as jeans
• Military armour and police uniforms
• Seat belts
• Direct trauma
• Muscle spasm
• Iliacus (hip flexor) hematoma
• Leg length discrepancy
You may experience symptoms with prolonged standing and walking, and alleviation with sitting, however each individual will have their own unique unique clinical presentation. It has been hypothesised that excessive anterior pelvic tilt (pictured), soft tissue tightness at the front of the hip, and contraction of the inguinal ligament may all contribute to the development of MP.
Initial treatment often includes the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, protecting the area, avoiding compression activities, and physiotherapy specific to the mechanical deficits of each individual. In cases where non-surgical management is unsuccessful, surgery may be required.
If you are suffering from ‘that feeling in your thigh’, book an appointment with one of our highly trained Physiotherapists at Bend + Mend in Sydney’s CBD.