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Common Conditions

Meralgia Paresthetica


Meralgia Paresthetica, also known as Bernhardt-Roth Syndrome, is a neurological condition characterised by tingling, numbness and burning pain in the outer thigh.

Meralgia Paresthetica occurs when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LCFN) which supplies sensation to the surface of the outer thigh becomes compressed or pinched. The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve is purely a sensory nerve and does not affect the ability to use the leg muscles. In most people, this nerve passes through the groin to the upper thigh without trouble but in Meralgia Paresthetica, the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve becomes trapped often under the inguinal ligament, which runs along the groin from your abdomen to the upper thigh.

Common causes of this compression include any condition that increases pressure on the groin including tight clothing, obesity, weight gain, wearing a heavy tool belt, pregnancy or scar tissue near the inguinal ligament due to injury or past surgery. Nerve injury, which can be due to diabetes or injury after a motor vehicle accident also can cause Meralgia Paresthetica.

Physical therapy can help with Meralgia Paresthetica. As Meralgia Paresthetica is caused by a disorder in the hip or pelvis, a physical therapist will address those areas with the goal of eliminating compression on the nerve. Treatment may include manual therapy to gently move the muscles and joints to improve their motion and strength in the back or hip. Pain-relief techniques will also be implemented to decrease the leg’s extreme sensitivity. Personalised exercises as well as lifestyle recommendations will be prescribed to decrease tension and help restore normal motion in the back, hip and leg. If in doubt, seek professional advice.

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