Numbness in the Outer Thighs

Numbness in the outer thigh is commonly known as meralgia paresthetica in the medical community. This disorder is characterized by numbness, tingling and a burning sensation on the outer portion of the thigh.

Numbness in the outer thigh is commonly known as meralgia paresthetica in the medical community. (Image: bee32/iStock/GettyImages)

This condition can be painful or sensitive to the touch. A majority of meralgia paresthetica cases can be treated. If you experience persistent numbness in your thigh, contact a medical professional.

Numbness in Thigh

Meralgia paresthetica is the result of the compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, according to Mayo Clinic. This nerve supplies sensation to your upper thigh. When the nerve becomes pinched or compressed, you may experience difficulty using your leg muscle.

Meralgia parethetica is commonly caused by excessive pressure on the groin region. Tight clothing, obesity, pregnancy, scar tissue, excessive walking or cycling, standing for extended periods of time and nerve injuries can result in meralgia paresthetica.

Meralgia Paresthetica Symptoms

If you have meralgia paresthetica, you may experience numbness and tingling on the outer portion of your thigh according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. A burning sensation in your upper thigh and a dull pain across the groin and thigh region are other indicators of this disorder.

Pain across the buttocks is another possible symptom. Symptoms usually intensify if you shift all of your weight to the affected leg while walking or standing. If you experience these symptoms, a visit to your doctor is recommended.

What the Doctor Says

At your doctor's appointment, your doctor will ask you to complete a medical history form. Your medical history along with a physical examination can aid in diagnosing meralgia paresthetica. Your doctor will ask you to describe the pain and its location. The doctor will examine this portion of your leg. Your doctor may also order further testing.

An x-ray can be used to rule out other conditions of the hip and pelvis. An electromyograph — or EMG — can be performed to test the muscles and nerves in your thigh. The test uses a thin, electrode needle to record electrical activity. According to Mayo Clinic an electromyography can reveal the signal transmission between nerves and muscles.

An EMG is a very common test in diagnosing this disorder. Your doctor may also over a nerve conduction study. During this test, small patches — electrodes — are positioned on your skin. Electrical impulses stimulate the movement of the muscle. This helps to check for nerve damage.

How to Treat Numbness

Meralgia paresthetica is often treated conservatively. Wearing looser fitting clothes and losing weight can help relieve pressure felt on your thigh. Pain relievers — usually over-the-counter — or anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce pain felt by this disorder.

Your doctor may also suggest a steroid injection if your pain is severe or ongoing. An injection can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Surgery to decompress the nerve is used as a last resort.

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