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What Causes a Tingling Thigh?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Most cases that involve any type of paresthesia, including a tingling thigh, are related to the nerves in some way. One common cause of a tingling thigh is a condition known as meralgia paresthetica, which often involves the entrapment of a nerve near the spine. This condition usually has external causes and typically is not irreversible. Other causes of the tingling can be more severe, including multiple sclerosis and disorders of the nerves or spine. If thigh tingling does continues for an extended period of time, it is advised to seek medical advice to rule out serious conditions.

Meralgia paresthetica refers to a condition where the nerves responsible for sensation in one or both thighs are compressed. When nerves are impinged on like this, it can cause what is often described as a sensation of pins and needles pricking the skin. It can also progress to a point where the thigh becomes completely numb. Many different conditions can cause a nerve compression, though some common underlying factors include pregnancy, a profession that requires wearing a heavy belt, and obesity.

It may also be possible for clothing known as skinny jeans to compress the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. These skin tight pants can exert considerable pressure on the nerve in a similar fashion to the other risk factors for meralgia paresthetica. Not everyone who wears skinny jeans will experience a tingling thigh, though it is a potential side effect that should be considered.

Regardless of the cause, meralgia paresthetica will typically clear up within a few weeks or months if the pressure on the nerve is removed. Overweight individuals may find relief through weight loss, and those whose tingling thigh is caused by occupational stress may be advised to spend less time on their feet. In cases where the nerve compression is caused by skinny jeans, simply wearing looser clothing can lead to recovery. Certain cases may require surgery or medications.

Other more serious conditions may also result in a tingling thigh. Physical damage to the spine or the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve may interfere with normal sensation. It is also possible for an autoimmune disease like multiple sclerosis to manifest with symptoms of a tingling thigh. This disease involves the immune system attacking protective cells that cover nerves, and will often have other symptoms including weakness and a loss of balance. While there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, early diagnosis may aid in the construction of an effective treatment plan.

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Discussion Comments
By anon1001599 — On May 20, 2019

I have problems in my spine: bulging, herniated and deteriorating discs, along with thecal sac indentation. I began having tingling in my shoulders and right thigh. I looked it up and discovered meralgia paresthetica is what I am experiencing. I advised my therapist of this (she didn't even know what it was!!) but she gave me therapeutic exercises to do to decrease the numbness. Plus standing on my feet for hours at a time on concrete contributed to the cause.

By orangey03 — On Jan 30, 2012

I have a mild case of restless leg syndrome, and I feel tingling in my thighs, calves, and feet every night when I lay down. It feels like carbonated soda is fizzing inside my legs!

I went to a doctor for treatment, but she gave me anti-anxiety medication. I don't even have anxiety, so the medicine didn't help.

A friend told me that she had reduced the tingling in her legs by doing moderate exercise and cutting down on caffeine. I decided to try it, and I'm glad that I did.

I go for a swim in the summer, and I take daily walks in the winter. This mild exercise is enough to lessen my symptoms at night.

Also, I only drink one cup of coffee now instead of three. I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow, before my legs even have time to bother me.

By OeKc05 — On Jan 29, 2012

I am not overweight, but I am not particularly skinny, either. However, I tried wearing skinny jeans to fit in with everyone else, and I found them to be very uncomfortable.

My thighs started tingling after I had been wearing them for about three days. It was the weirdest feeling. They nearly went numb!

I went home from work at lunch and changed into some loose trousers, but it still took awhile for the tingling to subside. I have since given my skinny jeans to charity, and I hope in doing so that I haven't caused someone else to develop thigh tingling!

By cloudel — On Jan 29, 2012

@seag47 – Sometimes thigh tingling can occur after a workout if you aren't used to doing it regularly. However, if you have been doing the same workout for a while now, it may be something else.

I started doing lots of lunges and leg curls, and afterward, I had tingling and burning in my thighs. I thought it might go away, but it continued and worsened.

My doctor told me I had meralgia paresthetica. She suggested that I take ibuprofen for the pain, and she also recommended that I switch to a workout that would be less strenuous on my legs.

I started doing yoga. It increased the circulation through my legs, and the burning and tingling went away. I feel better now than even before it all started, because yoga can do great things for your mind and body.

By seag47 — On Jan 29, 2012

After I do a workout, my thighs tingle moderately. It isn't painful, but it is a weird sensation.

It usually happens after I take a brisk thirty-minute walk. This really gets my blood flowing, and at first, I thought maybe I was just feeling this flow.

However, it began to feel more like a numbing sensation as time went on. I sat down and rested, and the tingling went away about twenty minutes later.

Has anyone else here experienced thigh tingling after a workout? Is it something I should be concerned about, or is it normal?

By honeybees — On Jan 28, 2012

One of my good friends was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her early 30's. The first indication that she had something wrong was a tingling and numbness in her lower extremities.

She put off getting checked for awhile because she thought it was something that would eventually just go away. After running several tests, they determined that she had multiple sclerosis.

She is currently taking medication for this and has had good results for the most part. If she is having a tough day though, she still experiences some tingling in her feet, legs and thighs.

By LisaLou — On Jan 27, 2012

During the end of both of my pregnancies, I had thigh numbness and tingling. The best relief I had was trying to say off my feet as much as possible.

This wasn't so hard with the first baby, but when you are trying to chase a toddler around, it is not very easy.

My doctor said this can be common, especially in the last trimester of the pregnancy. This numbness and tingling went away after giving birth both times.

This is kind of a weird sensation and it felt like I was being stuck with sharp needles up and down my thighs. Sometimes it would feel like my legs had gone to sleep, and would stay like that for hours at a time.

By bagley79 — On Jan 27, 2012

Wow - I never realized that wearing tight clothing like skinny jeans could cause tingling in your thigh. Just one more reason for me not to buy a pair of skinny jeans!

I kept hoping these jeans would be a short lived style, but they are still around! My girls love wearing them, but I don't think they will be in my closet any time soon.

This is helpful information to know though. If any of them begin complaining of a numb or tingling thigh, that might be the first thing I consider.

By andee — On Jan 27, 2012

I spend most of the day sitting in an office chair in front of the computer. A few days after buying a new chair, I started having some numbness and tingling in my thigh and down my legs.

I was worried this was something like multiple sclerosis as I had never experienced anything like that before.

One of my good friends is a chiropractor and when I mentioned it to her she said it was probably from the new office chair.

She said when you spend that much time in one chair during the day, you should slowly break your body in to a new chair. Only sit in the new chair for an hour or two at a time, and gradually work your way up to all day.

I still had my old office chair sitting around, so took her advice and haven't had any more problems. I was thankful there was such an easy solution and it wasn't something more serious.

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