Do You Get A Burning Pain In Your Thigh?
If you get burning on the outside of your thigh, you may be experiencing a condition known as meralgia paresthetica.
I recently experienced this myself, and let me tell you... it's not fun.
Fortunately, I did find one really excellent meralgia paresthetica exercise that helped take care of the problem, and I wanted to share it with you in this video.
What Is Meralgia Paresthetica?
Meralgia paresthetica is a nerve problem with the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve on the outside of your thigh.
The name lateral femoral cutaneous nerve comes comes from the roots:
- Lateral - outer
- Femoral - your femur or thigh bone
- Cutaneous - skin
So the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve is a sensory nerve that supplies the skin on the outside of your thigh.
It doesn't supply any muscles.
The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve comes from the L2 and L3 nerve roots in your spine.
It passes down over the iliac crest (pelvic bone).
Then it runs near your iliopsoas (hip flexor) muscles.
It then runs under the inguinal ligament in your groin and passes by two muscles on the front of your hip: the tensor fascia latae and the sartorius.
What Causes Burning In The Thigh (Meralgia Paresthetica)?
The lateral femoral cutaneous nerve can get irritated anywhere along its path.
For example, if you wear a tight belt, that can irritate it at the top of the pelvis.
Or if you're in positions of prolonged hip flexion or repeated hip flexion, that can irritate it.
In my case, I noticed a burning pain in my outer thigh when I was sitting for long periods of time.
It would happen most often when working at the computer without using back support.
I know better than to do this, but it's easy to fall into that habit when typing.
In this position, the where the pelvis is tilted forwards, the lower back is arched, and the hip flexors are being used to hold yourself up.
Conversely, I noticed that if I would lean back into the chair and externally rotate my hips or turn my knees out, the thigh burning would go away.
So I played around with different sitting positions and found an exercise that helped relieve the burning in my thigh.
What The Best Meralgia Paresthetica Exercise?
I've never seen this exercise anywhere before, and I can't say that this is the best exercise for every cause of burning in the thigh. However, it worked really well for me.
Start out sitting in a chair with your ankles crossed and your knees turned out. The ankle of your sore leg should be the one in front.
The reason for that is you can use your good leg to push the other ankle forwards.
This puts your sore hip in a position of external rotation.
Scoot forwards on the chair and push your ankles back underneath the chair.
Now squeeze your buttock muscles to help externally rotate your hips and also extend your hips or push your pelvis forward.
Now, that creates a stretch of your iliopsoas as well as your tensor fascia latae, which is a hip flexor and internal rotator.
You should feel a really good stretch on the inner groin. Hold for 1-2 minutes.
I did this on and off whenever sitting, and it relieved the pain quite a bit.
Other Tips To Stop Burning In The Thigh
Now additionally, when you are sitting, try to sit back in the chair and use the backrest.
It may also help to externally rotate your hips when sitting.
Additionally, when walking, make sure that you're not overpronating your foot and allowing your hip to internally rotate excessively.
Try hitting on the outer side of the foot and squeezing the glute of this leg.
This helps activate the hip external rotators and prevent overuse of the tensor fascia latae.
Hopefully you found these tips for burning in your thigh to be helpful if you have meralgia paresthetica.
Again, this isn't the ONLY cause of burning in the thigh, so if you try this and it doesn't work, it's a good idea to get your hip evaluated in person.
If you live in the St. Louis area and need help to relieve burning in your thigh, tap the button below to request an appointment with one of our specialist physical therapists.