digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















"Meralgia" redirects here. For nerve pain in general, see Neuralgia.
Meralgia paresthetica
Innervation of lateral cutaneous nerve of thigh (shaded area) on right leg.
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 G57.1
ICD-9 355.1
DiseasesDB 31968
eMedicine neuro/590 orthoped/416, pmr/76
Patient UK Meralgia paraesthetica

Meralgia paresthetica or Meralgia paraesthetica (UK/Australian spelling) (me-ral'-gee-a par-es-thet'-i-ka) (or Bernhardt-Roth syndrome[1]), is numbness or pain in the outer thigh not caused by injury to the thigh, but by injury to a nerve that extends from the thigh to the spinal column.

This chronic neurological disorder involves a single nerve—the lateral cutaneous nerve of thigh, which is also called the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve or lateral femoral cutaneous neuropathy.[2] The term "meralgia paraesthetica" combines four Greek roots to mean "thigh pain with anomalous perception".


Lateral cutaneous nerve of thigh and other structures passing between the left inguinal ligament and ilium, top view.

The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve most often becomes injured by entrapment or compression where it passes between the upper front hip bone (ilium) and the inguinal ligament near the attachment at the anterior superior iliac spine (the upper point of the hip bone). Less commonly, the nerve may be entrapped by other anatomical or abnormal structures, or damaged by diabetic or other neuropathy or trauma such as from seat belt injury in an accident.

The nerve may become painful over a period of time as weight gain makes underwear, belting or the waistband of pants gradually exert higher levels of pressure. Pain may be acute and radiate into the rib cage, and into the groin, thigh, and knee. Alternately, weight loss or aging may remove protective fat layers under the skin, so the nerve can compress against underwear, outer clothing, and—most commonly— by belting. Long periods of standing or leg exercise that increases tension on the inguinal ligament may also cause pressure.

Signs and symptoms[edit]

  • Pain on the outer side of the thigh, occasionally extending to the outer side of the knee, usually constant.
  • A burning sensation, tingling, or numbness in the same area
  • Multiple bee-sting like pains in the affected area
  • Occasionally, aching in the groin area or pain spreading across the buttocks
  • Usually more sensitive to light touch than to firm pressure
  • Hyper sensitivity to heat (warm water from shower feels like it is burning the area)


Diagnosis is largely based on patient description and relevant details about recent surgeries, hip injuries, or repetitive activities that could irritate the nerve. Examination checks for sensory differences between the affected leg and the other leg. Accurate diagnosis may require an abdominal and pelvic examination to exclude problems in those areas.

Electromyography (EMG) nerve conduction studies may be required. X-rays may be needed to exclude bone abnormalities that might put pressure on the nerve; likewise CT or MRI scans to exclude soft tissue causes such as a tumor.


Treatment varies. In most cases, the best treatment is to remove the cause of compression by modifying patient behavior, in combination with medical treatment to relieve inflammation and pain. Whatever the cause, typical treatment takes several weeks to months—depending on the degree of nerve damage. Typical treatment options include:

  • ART (Active Release Technique) soft tissue treatment
  • Wearing looser clothing and suspenders rather than belts
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammatory pain
  • Narcotic pain killers if pain level limits motion and prevents sleep
  • Reducing physical activity in relation to pain level. Acute pain may require absolute bed rest
  • Deep tissue massage to reduce tension in the gluteal muscles, most commonly Gluteus Maximus. Also Tensor Fasciae Latae may be implicated.

The lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh can occasionally be damaged during laparoscopic hernia repair, or scarring from the operation can lead to meralgia paraesthetica.[3]

For lower pain levels, treatment may involve having the patient:

  • Seek appropriate Physical Therapy, such as stretching and massage, which plays a large role in the management of pain
  • Use rest periods to interrupt long periods of standing, walking, cycling, or other aggravating activity
  • Lose weight, and exercise to strengthen abdominal muscles[4]
  • Wear clothing that is loose at the upper front hip area
  • Apply heat, ice, or electrical stimulation[5]
  • Take Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for 7–10 days[4]
  • Remove hair in affected area (shave)
  • Lidocaine patches (must shave area first)
  • Titanium Dioxide patches to interfere with the electrostatic effect of the nerves on the surface of the skin

Pain may take significant time (weeks) to stop and, in some cases, numbness persists despite treatment. In severe cases, the physician might perform a local nerve block at the inguinal ligament, using a combination of local anaesthetic (lidocaine) and corticosteroids to provide relief that may last several weeks. Pain modifier drugs for neuralgic pain (such as amitriptyline, carbamazepine or gabapentin) may be tried,[5] but are often not as helpful in the majority of patients.[6]

Persistent and severe cases may require surgery to decompress the nerve[6] or, as a last resort, to resect the nerve.[5] The latter treatment leaves permanent numbness in the area.

Popular Culture[edit]

Skinny pants syndrome[7] - in reference to a rise in teenagers wearing skin-tight pants.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pearce, J M S (2006). "Meralgia paraesthetica (Bernhardt-Roth syndrome)". Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry 77: 84. doi:10.1136/jnnp.2005.072363. 
  3. ^ Ivins, Gregory K. (2000). "Meralgia Paresthetica, the Elusive Diagnosis". Annals of Surgery 232 (2): 281–6. doi:10.1097/00000658-200008000-00019. PMC 1421141. PMID 10903608. 
  4. ^ a b "Meralgia Paresthetica". Peripheral Nerve Diseases & Disorders. UCLA Neurosurgery. Retrieved 2007-04-09. 
  5. ^ a b c Meralgia Paresthetica orthoped/416 at eMedicine
  6. ^ a b Meralgia Paresthetica neuro/590 at eMedicine
  7. ^ "Make your pencil jeans less dangerous to your health". Vanguard. March 8, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meralgia_paraesthetica — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
76 videos foundNext > 


Meralgia Paresthetica - Everything You Need To Know - Dr. Nabil Ebraheim

Educational video describing Meralgia Paresthetica of the thigh. Become a friend on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/drebraheim Follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/DrEbraheim_UTMC...

Femoral Nerve - Nerve Flossing - Kinetic Health

Once you watch this video you will be able to release entrapments of the Femoral Nerve, which is commonly associated with groin, thigh and leg pain. This type of exercise (combined with other...

Lokesh - Healed from Meralgia paraesthetica (Pinched/ Compressed nerve) - JCNM Testimonies - Telugu

Professor Matthew Kiernan discusses Meralgia Paraesthetica on Channel 10 news.

Neurologist and Neuroscientist, Matthew Kiernan talks about how our current trends in fashion may be linked to the condition called meralgia paraesthetica.

Femoral Nerve Entrapment - Front of Thigh Numbness from Running - Huntington Beach

http://www.P2SportsCare.com & http://www.lulu.com/shop/sebastian-gonzales-dc-cscs/prevention-of-overuse-and-sports-injures-a-case-by-case-approach/ebook/product-20769045.html to learn ...

Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve release

Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve release surgery done at Base Hospital Gampola Sri Lanka on 19 05 2014.

Case Study: Meralgia Paresthetica

Fixing a case of meralgia paresthetica with Active Release Technique and chiropractic care in a 31 year old pregnant patient. http://activerelease.com http://drscottamills.com http://livewellchirop...

Curing Meralgia Paresthetica

Leg pain that from your hip, leg, thigh, and even your knee? Outer thigh numb? You may have Meralgia Paresthetica, caused by a damaged lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. The good news? You can...

What can I do for meralgia paresthetica?

Meralgia paresthetica is compression on a nerve that causes numbness, tingling, or decreased sensation in the upper, outer thigh. It sounds like in your case it's due to the fact that you...

76 videos foundNext > 

34 news items

WBAL Baltimore

WBAL Baltimore
Mon, 01 Dec 2014 09:03:35 -0800



Fri, 21 Nov 2014 08:36:55 -0800

There obviously has to be to some explanation of your long standing thigh pains - perhaps due to pressure on the nerves in the spine or the condition known as Meralgia Paraesthetica. I would suggest you discuss with your doctor a referral for a further ...
Tue, 05 Mar 2013 15:13:18 -0800

Mogelijk lijdt u aan Meralgia paraesthetica of het syndroom van Bernhardt-Roth. Dat is een beknelling van een huidzenuw aan de buitenkant van het bovenbeen, de nervus cutaneus femoris lateralis (NCFL) die het 'gevoel' regelt in de huid aan de voor- en ...
Dynamic Chiropractic
Fri, 14 Jun 2013 09:44:43 -0700

Meralgia paraesthetica (Bernhardt-Roth syndrome). J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 2006;77(1):84. Freud S. Ueber die Bernhardtsche Sensibilitaetsstoreung. Neurol Centralbl, 1895. 14491–14492. Sunderland S. Nerves and Nerve Injuries, 2nd Edition.
Sun, 15 Apr 2012 23:31:41 -0700

He turned out to have an area of altered sensation on the outer aspect of his leg caused by compression of the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh – a well-recognised syndrome otherwise known as meralgia paraesthetica. Fascinating. -------. The puzzle ...
Fri, 23 Nov 2012 09:01:07 -0800

I can only conjecture, and wonder whether this might be a variation of Meralgia Paraesthetica where the sensory nerve to the skin of the forearm is 'nipped' by a layer of fascia. More speculatively still this could conceivably be caused by abnormal ...
Globe and Mail
Wed, 23 May 2012 17:31:05 -0700

As if coloured jeans weren't enough of a style dilemma (how to avoid looking like a Technicolor sausage?), skinny jeans are now under fire – and not from the fashion police. Doctors caution that skinny jeans worn too tight can cause meralgia ...
Daily Mail
Mon, 14 Feb 2011 13:02:07 -0800

Dr Martin Scurr has been treating patients for more than 30 years and is one of the country's leading GPs. Here he answers your questions... Four years ago, aged 65, I started having chest pains. My doctor sent me to hospital, where they recorded my ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight