Meralgia Paresthetica, maybe?

TL;DR - Numb lower, outer quad & shooting pains - sports physio tried for months but it got worse until diagnosed with Meralgia Paresthetica by sports doctor. Injections & chiropractor reduced symptoms by 70% then NHS physio thinks its my IT band... Has anyone else been through anything similar - any advice, guidance or even a success story to give me hope!?

Full story:

I started with the c25k in April 2018 and very quickly fell in love with running, especially trail/hill running (I've been hill walking & climbing for years) and as seems quite common with new runners, got greedy and did too much too soon... Whilst training for a 20k hill race my left hip flexor started getting quite tight and when stretching it, I would get a strange numbness in my outer, lower quad. I carried on with training and then did this race in October 2018.

After the race (which I ran way faster than I'd trained for) the lower part of my quad became numb and I started getting shooting pains down the inside of my quad when my hip was extended (standing up straight, lying supine etc.) and after a few weeks of rest didn't make it any better, started seeing a sports physio.

5 months later the symptoms had gotten way worse; almost constant 'sensations' (burning/stabbing pain) down my outer quad so much so any type of hip extension caused fairly severe stabbing/burning pain... I'd stopped running all together by this point and my physio said that there was nothing more he could do as he couldn't find what was wrong so he referred me to a sports doctor specialising in the hip.

Sports doctor diagnosed me with Meralgia Paresthetica straight away and gave me a steroid injection around my iliac crest.

Over the next 5 weeks I had a course of chiropractic treatments & another steroid shot and started exercise again (cross trainer, hill walking, cycling to work instead of driving) and over this time the pain when my hip was extended abated significantly however the numbness remained.

Finally after a very long wait I was seen last month by an NHS physio and she isn't convinced that it is indeed Meralgia Paresthetica because the pain patterns are not typical and I do not fit the demographic of people who generally get it (I am not obese, a pregnant lady, been in a car crash etc.)! She instead thinks that it could be an IT Band issue so gave me a couple of exercises to do and told me to start the c25k again.

I'm on week 4 of the c25k and the it doesn't seem to be getting any worse however my hip flexor does tighten up quite quickly after every run.

I've found a fair bit of info online regarding Meralgia Paresthetica however its all so vague and the support groups I joined on FB have me genuinely terrified regarding the prognosis & long term outlook... I've found no 'success stories' however I do understand that people generally only take to the internet with the worst case situations.

I would really love to hear from anyone who has dealt with anything that sounds similar to my situation, especially anyone who has successfully gotten over this condition :)

Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings...!


  • JTFJTF ✭✭
    When I said "shooting pains down the inside of my quad when my hip was extended" I mean the anterior quad but like it is inside the muscle (under the skin)
  • Same here and no solution. Nerve test shows weak nerve reaction. Is it better with your meralgia?
  • JTFJTF ✭✭
    DM'd you Mark.

    For anyone else reading this looking for answers, here is an update on where I'm at with this now, 20 months later...

    My symptoms are very much under control now (at the time of writing I haven't felt any significant symptoms for around 3 months) but it's taken a long time, much trial and error figuring out what flares it up and what eases it off. For me, running is a complete no-no however I can cycle, hike and rock climb without it bothering me too much (a big day hiking in the mountains will cause some symptoms but they abate quickly). My self-care routine involves eating well (clean, non-inflammatory stuff), regular exercise (not running) and lots of stretching/mobility work on my hips, quads and back. I have also had therapy to help me deal with the pain and to work through the loss and grief of not being able to run.

    Of all the treatments I've tried, hands down the best results came from acupuncture (traditional Chinese, focusing on the 'gall bladder meridian') which, when it was really bad in late 2019 (I was running ~20k a week over 3 runs) it reduced pain and symptoms by around 95%.

    I am still very hopeful that I will be able to return to running one day. I've decided that, should I manage to keep it in the good place it is right now then I will try running again next year.

    If you're reading this and would like to know more about my journey or chat to someone who's been through this and is coming out the other side don't hesitate to message me on here.
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