By Gary M. White, MD

Meralgia paresthetica (MP) represents damage to the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve that leads to abnormal sensations and potential alopecia along the distribution of this nerve (anterolateral surface of the thigh).


Patients may experience pain, burning, numbness, muscle aches, coldness, lightning pain, or buzzing (like a cell phone) in the lateral or anterolateral thigh.


If a cause of nerve compression such as a herniated disc can be found, it should be treated. Otherwise, there is no consensus on effective treatment. Therapies that have had some success include capsaicin cream 5/day, lidocaine patch, physical therapy, pulsed radio frequency ablation, and finally surgical intervention.


Distribution of symptoms in meralgia paresthetica. Int J Sports Phys Ther. Dec 2013; 8(6): 883–893


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