What is burning thigh pain?

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It is important to note that the nerves are responsible for bringing information to the brain about the environment and sending messages from the brain to activate the muscles. In order to achieve this, the nerves pass over, under, around and throughout the bones, joints and muscles. In most cases, there is adequate room to allow easy passage. The presence of pressure, swelling or trauma can lead to the narrowing of these openings and squeeze the nerve. Once this occurs, pain, paralysis and other issues can occur. When the individual experiences a sore, burning sensation on the exterior side of the thigh, it indicates that one of the large sensory nerves is compressed. This condition can cause burning thigh pain or medically called as meralgia paresthetica.


  • Pain on the exterior side of the thigh that extends to the outer side of the knee
  • Occasional aching in the groin region or pain that spreads across the buttocks
  • Tingling or burning sensation and even numbness in the area
  • Pain only on one side of the body
  • Sensitivity to light touch than firm pressure.

Since pain is a usual symptom in various injuries and conditions, a doctor should be consulted for proper assessment of the condition. To learn to manage pain from this condition, register for a first aid and CPR course with a credible provider near you.

Diagnosing burning thigh pain

Burning thigh pain
Pain on the exterior side of the thigh that extends to the outer side of the knee

When diagnosing burning thigh pain, the doctor will ask the individual about recent injuries to the hip, surgeries or repetitive activities that can irritate the nerve. The doctor will check for any sensory differences between the affected leg and the other leg. When verifying the location of the burning thigh pain, the doctor will apply pressure on the nerve to reproduce the sensation. In most cases, a pelvic and abdominal examination is carried out to rule out other issues in these areas.

An X-ray will identify abnormalities in the bone that might be adding pressure on the nerve. If a growth is present such as a tumor, an MRI or CT scan is requested. It is important to note that constrictive clothing and weight gain are also common causes for the added pressure on the nerve. The doctor will ask the individual if he/she uses a heavy tool belt while at work or if a tight girdle or corset is consistently used. A weight loss program might be recommended. In some cases, the burning thigh pain can also be caused by a seatbelt injury during a vehicular accident.


The treatment for burning thigh pain tends to vary, depending on the source of pressure. In most cases, it might take time for the burning thigh pain to stop and the numbness can even last despite the treatment.

The objective of treatment is to remove the cause of compression. This might require the individual to rest from the activity that aggravates the pain, cutting down excess weight, wearing loose clothing or using a toolbox instead of a tool belt.

In severe cases, the doctor will administer an injection of a corticosteroid preparation to minimize the inflammation. This will generally relieve the symptoms experienced by the individual for some time. In rare cases, surgery might be required in order to release the nerve.

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