Meralgia paresthetica: a review of the literature

Scott W Cheatham, Morey J Kolber, Paul A Salamh
International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 2013, 8 (6): 883-93

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Meralgia Paresthetica (MP) is a nerve entrapment which may cause pain, paresthesias, and sensory loss within the distribution of the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh. When the differential diagnosis of lateral or anterolateral thigh pain is inconclusive, MP should be considered as a potential source. MP produces similar signs and symptoms as those associated with more common diagnoses such as lumbar spine pathology. This clinical commentary will review the most relevant literature on MP with an emphasis on recognition and management of this condition.

DESCRIPTION OF TOPIC WITH RELATED EVIDENCE: The authors reviewed the most relevant published literature on MP from 1970 to 2013 located using the databases PubMed, CINAHL, and Proquest.

DISCUSSION/RELATION TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: MP still remains a diagnostic challenge since it can mimic other common diagnoses. Understanding the current literature surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of MP is essential for clinicians practicing in the outpatient environment. The consensus on the most effective non-surgical and surgical interventions is still limited, as is the research on physical therapy interventions for this condition. Perhaps the lack of research and global consensus represents a knowledge deficit that makes MP a challenge to diagnose and successfully treat. Future collaborative studies are needed to improve the clinical diagnostics and understanding of interventions for this pathology.


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