What causes numb thigh?
Numb thigh can be the result of peripheral nerve or skin damage to the thigh and surrounding tissues. Disorders affecting the nerves, such as peripheral neuropathy and stroke, may also cause numb thigh. Also, meralgia paresthetica, a disorder in which nerve compression affects feeling in the outer thigh, is another possible cause of numb thigh.
Common causes of numb thigh
Numb thigh may be caused by several common conditions including:
- Exposure to cold
- Exposure to toxins or poisons
- Peripheral neuropathy (disorder that causes dysfunction of nerves that lie outside your brain and spinal cord)
- Pressure on nerve
Diseases or disorders causing numb thigh
A number of diseases can cause numb thigh including:
- Alcoholic neuropathy (nerve damage associated with excessive alcohol consumption)
- Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage due to high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes)
- Guillain-Barre syndrome (autoimmune nerve disorder)
- Meralgia paresthetica (pain in outer thigh due to nerve compression)
- Multiple sclerosis (disease that affects the brain and spinal cord causing weakness, coordination, balance difficulties, and other problems)
- Rheumatoid arthritis (chronic autoimmune disease characterized by joint inflammation)
- Shingles (reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus, which remains in the body in an inactive state following chickenpox)
- Spinal stenosis, disc disease, or other conditions of the spine
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (disorder in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues)
- Vitamin deficiencies
Serious or life-threatening causes of numb thigh
In some cases, numb thigh may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be evaluated immediately in an emergency setting. These include:
- Transient ischemic attack (temporary stroke-like symptoms that may be a warning sign of an impending stroke)
Questions for diagnosing the cause of numb thigh
To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your numb thigh including:
- How long have you felt numbness in your thigh?
- Where do you feel the numbness in your thigh?
- Do you have any other symptoms?
- What medications are you taking?
What are the potential complications of numb thigh?
Because numb thigh can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:
- Brain damage (if your numb thigh is due to stroke)
- Permanent nerve damage
NINDS paresthesia information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/paresthesia/paresthesia.htm. Accessed April 30, 2011.
Peripheral neuropathy fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/peripheralneuropathy/detail_peripheralneuropathy.htm. Accessed April 30, 2011.
What is numb thigh?
Numb thigh is caused when sensation in the thigh is diminished from nerve damage or dysfunction. It can result from an injury to the thigh or exposure to cold temperatures. Another possible cause of numb thigh is meralgia paresthetica, which is a disorder caused by compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, one of the main nerves within the thigh. Read more about numb thigh introduction