Hays County Physical Therapy and Wellness

Help! Why Is My Outer Thigh Numb and Tingly?

Paresthetica Meralgia is a condition that is characterized by numbness and tingling in the outer thigh and knee area. There can also be a burning sensation associated with it as well. This condition is connected with the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, a nerve that supplies sensation to the surface of the outer leg. It runs from the backside of the pelvis, through the pelvic girdle, under the inguinal ligament, and down the front of the pelvis to the outer thigh. Here is an illustration for reference.

Why do I have this?

Paresthetica Meralgia occurs when there is compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, either by muscle tension or by pressure applied to the inguinal ligament. This can be due to overactive muscle tissue in the pelvic girdle that has somehow entrapped the nerve, or it could simply be a positional thing that causes the inguinal ligament to clamp down on the nerve. Whatever the cause is, it’s not a pleasant feeling and needs to be resolved.

Here are a few common causes of compression of the nerve:

  • Pregnancy and/or recent postpartum

  • Tight clothing or belts that cross the front of the pelvis

  • Motor vehicle accidents while wearing a seatbelt

Pregnancy is a common cause of compression because carrying a child increases the gravitational forces applied to the frontside of the pelvis and causes what’s known as anterior pelvic tilt (tilting the pelvis forward and down). When the pelvis is anteriorly tilted it applies pressure to the nerve and increases tension on it.

How do I resolve it?

Resolving this numbing and tingling sensation can be as easy as changing positions: moving from sitting to standing, or from sitting to lying. Or it could require more care such as stretching and performing massage/manual therapy to the tissues of the hip, abdominal, or pelvis. If you are experiencing this condition and are unable to relieve it by changing positions, then it may be time to try Physical Therapy. Skilled physical therapists are trained in recognizing musculoskeletal disorders such as this and would be able to help alleviate and resolve the issue.

If you would like more information on about Paresthetica Meralgia or are experiencing numbness and tingling in your leg, give us a call at 512-268-9130.