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When Pain in Your Outer Thigh Might Be Serious

When Pain in Your Outer Thigh Might Be Serious

If you are having burning pain in the outer thigh that is steadily getting worse, you may be suffering from meralgia paresthetica. Meralgia paresthetica is a condition characterized by tingling, numbness or burning in the outer upper thigh region. The symptoms usually present on one side in or on the surface of your outer upper […]

If you are having burning pain in the outer thigh that is steadily getting worse, you may be suffering from meralgia paresthetica.

Meralgia paresthetica is a condition characterized by tingling, numbness or burning in the outer upper thigh region. The symptoms usually present on one side in or on the surface of your outer upper thigh.

The most common cause is compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve that is responsible for sensation in the outer upper thigh. This may be due to wearing tight clothing, a tight belt or gaining weight after bariatric surgery. In fact, I personally had this issue when I used to lean against the operating room table during my years in Boston and took me six months to get better.

Your suspicions can easily be confirmed by a visit to your doctor with whom you can discuss your symptoms. In addition to a physical examination, your doctor may also order X-rays to look for any bone abnormality, nerve conduction studies, a diagnostic nerve block and electromyography (record of the electrical activity of the muscles) to confirm the diagnosis.

Over-the-counter pain relievers or steroid injections may provide temporary relief, but long term treatment of meralgia paresthetica usually involves eradicating the cause of nerve compression. It is advisable to wear loose clothes and avoid tight belts. With decompression of the nerve, your symptoms should resolve completely. If these methods do not provide a satisfactory result, surgical decompression of the nerve is recommended.


Dr. Marc Zaré specializes in minimally invasive surgery and believes that modern surgery should be innovative, non-invasive, and patient-centered. His mission is to provide every patient compassionate surgical care based on sound scientific evidence. With more than 15 years of experience in clinical practice, Dr. Zaré is considered to be a leader and one of the foremost experts of his field in Northern California. He is recognized for his surgical skills, clinical expertise, and superior outcomes.

Marc M. Zare, MD, FACS

Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery

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