Neurology Expert Forum
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Numb Thigh

Hi Doctor!

29 y/o male, 180 pounds here

I have been running quite bit and doing a lot of yoga (I'm hyper mobile) for the past couple of months. About a week and a half ago I noticed a fairly large area of numbness on the outside part of my left thigh. It has stayed pretty consistent in size and shape, and I've stopped exercising so much this week in case that was exacerbating the problem. My symptoms are consistent with this:

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/specialty_areas/peripheral_nerve_surgery/conditions/meralgia_paresthetica.html

Including the manual stimulation of the nerve as it exits the pelvis reproducing the symptoms (I noticed that while massaging my side). I have zero impairment of motor function.

While it seems like this is something that will almost definitely work itself out in time, and thankfully there is not too much pain associated with it for me, I am very concerned that it WON'T go away. What can I do to speed along this recovery process? Will exercise like yoga and running help or make it worse and slow it down? I would hate to be off my feet for an extended period...

Finally, how long should I expect these symptoms to persist, and at what point do you think I should go to a doctor about it? I talked to a doctor and he said that as long as I have no motor impairment and as long as it doesn't get worse, it's not indicative of anything permanent and that it should work itself out. In the mean time, I'm just trying not to exert myself and taking ibuprofen intermittently.

Thank you so much for your advice! I really want this to go away!

Best,
Jeff
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

Meralgia paresthetica is a sensory disturbance, usually painful and burning, located on the lateral aspect of the legs. The burning sensation is usually worsened with prolonged positions. The nerve that supplies this region courses through muscle and between tight ligamentous areas. These make it susceptible for compression. Treatment includes medications such as the antiepileptics gabapentin and pregabalin and the tricylic antidepressants. Other options may include a nerve blocks and, rarely, neurectomy (surgical procedure).

I recommend that you be seen by your PCP. He/she may wish to refer you to a neurologist. The source of the compression will need to be identified in order to direct management.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.

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