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.