What is Meralgia Paresthetica & Why is it a Law Enforcement Work Injury? What You Need to Know

What is Meralgia Paresthetica (MP)?

Meralgia Paresthetica, which is also known as Bernhardt-Roth syndrome, is a chronic neurological disorder involving a single nerve. The condition involves a tingling, numbness or burning pain in the outer thigh. The condition involves the compression of a nerve. The nerve is the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve which supplies sensation to the surface of your outer thigh. MP involves the compression or pinching of the nerve.

What are the Causes of Meralgia Paresthetica?

The causes of MP include wearing tight clothing, obesity or weight gain, and pregnancy. However, MP can be caused by local trauma or a disease, such as diabetes. Further, the large amount of equipment that Law Enforcement Officers carry is also a cause. These items can cause the compression or pinching of the nerve. It is a sensory nerve and does not impact the ability to use the lower extremity.

What are the Symptoms of MP?

The symptoms include tingling and numbness in the outer/lateral part of the thigh. This can include thigh burning pain on the surface of the outer part of the thigh. Symptoms can be on one extremity. The symptoms can be increased or aggravated with standing or walking.

How is this Diagnosed?

The diagnosis is largely based upon the patient’s description as well as details such as history of surgery and participation in activities that can irritate the nerve. A physical evaluation can be conducted. Further, EMG nerve tests, X-Rays, MRI Scans, and CT Scans may be required.

Is MP a Serious Disease?

Yes. Meralgia can lead to significant disability when the diagnosis is missed or delayed. Meralgia Paresthetica, The Elusive Diagnosis Clinical Experience With 14 Adult Patients Gregory K. Ivins, MD, FACS

What are the Risk Factors for MP?

Risk Factors for MP include being overweight or obese, pregnancy, diabetes, and age (individuals between 30 and 60 are at a higher risk).

What are the Treatments for MP?

There are a variety of treatments for MP. These may include removal of wearing tight clothing or weighted equipment. Medical treatment can include medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, deep tissue massage, rest, and surgery. The surgery may be either the decompression of the nerve or the resection of the nerve. Resection of the nerve leaves permanent numbness in the area.

Are there any Reported Workers’ Compensation Cased which have Addressed MP?

Yes. There is a reported case of MP which involves a Police Officer. In Moten vs. City of Los Angeles (2015) 2015 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 566, (Noteworthy Case) the Applicant, a Police Officer, was examined by AME Mark Greenspan, M.D, Dr. Greenspan diagnosed applicant with left meralgia paresthetica, left femoral neuralgia, left inguinal region strain, lumbar spine strain, multilevel lumbar spondylosis, and degenerative arthritis of the left hip. In his ratings report, Dr. Greenspan assigned 2% whole person impairment (WPI) to applicant’s low back solely as a pain rating, 2% WPI to applicant’s left hip based on loss of range of motion, 1% WPI to left thigh muscle atrophy, and 1% WPI for pain.

Is there any research concerning MP and Law Enforcement Officers?

police officer workbelt with gun attached to hip-law offices of ed singer

Yes. In an article, Meralgia Paresthetica Due to Body Armor Wear in U.S. Soldiers Serving in Iraq: A Case Report and Review of the Literature, Matthew V. Fargo, MC USA Lisa N. Konitzer, SP USA Military Medicine, Volume 172, Issue 6, 1 June 2007, Pages 663- 665, Published: 01 June 2007, there is a discussion that specific duty uniform belts used by police officers and carpenters were associated with the condition. Further, the article discussed repetitive wear of protective body armor as most likely being associated with the condition as well. The article states that “[i]t is clear that body armor is an important and necessary component of our combat uniforms. It is also clear that the extra weight of body armor, and its compressive effects on various parts of the body to include the shoulders, chest, and lower extremities, can also cause harm to our soldiers. “ Similarly, Law Enforcement Officers wear many articles of clothing, tools, and weapons that significantly increase their weight. Some of these items can likewise provide compressive effects to various parts of the body.

Per the AMA Guides to Evaluation of Disease and injury Causation (2nd Edition) MP reported that there are several case reports describing MP caused by police duty belt, handgun and body armor.

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their worker’s compensation cases for 26 years. Contact us today for more information.

Image: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock