Numbness on The Outside of The Thigh Symptoms & Causes

Understand numbness on the outside of the thigh symptoms, including 4 causes & common questions.

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Contents

  1. 4 Possible Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

4 Possible Numbness On The Outside Of The Thigh Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced numbness on the outside of the thigh. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Piriformis syndrome

The two piriformis muscles, left and right, each run from the base of the pelvis to the top of the thighbone. The two sciatic nerves, left and right, are each attached to the spine and run down between the pelvic bone and the piriformis muscle to the back of each leg.

If the piriformis muscle is damaged through sudden trauma, or through overuse as in sports, the resulting inflammation or spasm of the muscle can trap the sciatic nerve between the pelvic bone and the muscle.

Piriformis syndrome is most often found in women over 30.

Symptoms include pain over one or both sides of the low back, and shooting pain (sciatica) down one or both legs.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination and sometimes imaging such as CT scan or MRI.

Treatment involves rest; over-the-counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; physical therapy; therapeutic injections; and, rarely, surgery.

The best prevention is a good regimen of stretching before exercise, to help prevent damage to the piriformis.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: pelvis pain, butt pain, pain when passing stools, leg numbness, hip pain

Symptoms that never occur with piriformis syndrome: involuntary defecation, leaking urine

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Cauda equina syndrome (rapid-onset)

Although leg pain is common and usually goes away without surgery, cauda equina syndrome, a rare disorder affecting the bundle of nerve roots (cauda equina) at the lower (lumbar) end of the spinal cord, is a surgical emergency.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, back pain that shoots down the leg, leg weakness, thigh numbness

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Numbness On The Outside Of The Thigh Symptom Checker

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Compartment syndrome

Acute compartment syndrome describes the damage done to certain muscle groups of the arms or legs after a traumatic injury.

All of the long muscles are bundled into sections – "compartments" – by the white sheets of strong, tough connective tissue called fascia. If something interferes with circulation so that blood flow is trapped within the compartment, pressure rises because the fascia cannot stretch. This causes serious damage to the muscles and other tissues within the compartment.

Acute compartment syndrome is caused by a broken bone; a crush injury; burns, due to scarred and tightened skin; and bandages or casts applied before an injury has stopped swelling.

Symptoms can rapidly intensify. They include severe pain and tightness in the muscle; tingling or burning sensation; and sometimes numbness and weakness.

Acute compartment syndrome is a medical emergency which can result in loss of the limb. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through patient history and physical examination.

Treatment involves hospitalization for emergency surgery and, in some cases, skin graft.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: arm numbness, hand numbness, foot numbness, pain in one leg, thigh numbness

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Thigh nerve issue (meralgia paresthetica)

Meralgia paresthetica is a nerve condition that causes an area of skin over the upper outer thigh to feel numb, tingly, or painful. This is caused by compression of a nerve known as the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh as it passes underneath a tough fibrous ligament known as the inguinal ligament.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: pain in the outside of the hip, pain in one thigh, thigh numbness, tingling upper leg, hip numbness

Symptoms that never occur with thigh nerve issue (meralgia paresthetica): new headache, swollen hip, swollen hips, swelling of one hip, leg swelling, weakness of both legs, leg weakness

Urgency: Primary care doctor

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Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Numbness On The Outside Of The Thigh

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Where on your upper leg is the numbness?
  • What is your body mass?
  • Do you currently smoke?
  • Were you lifting weights or straining yourself right before your symptoms started?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Please take a quiz to find out what might be causing your numbness on the outside of the thigh. These questions are also covered.

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Numbness On The Outside Of The Thigh Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced numbness on the outside of the thigh have also experienced:

  • 10% Lower Back Pain
  • 4% Numbness In One Thigh
  • 4% Thigh Numbness

People who have experienced numbness on the outside of the thigh were most often matched with:

  • 43% Cauda Equina Syndrome (Rapid-Onset)
  • 37% Compartment Syndrome
  • 18% Piriformis Syndrome

People who have experienced numbness on the outside of the thigh had symptoms persist for:

  • 36% Less than a day
  • 27% Over a month
  • 20% Less than a week

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

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