Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Iliotibial Band Syndrome and Meralgia Paresthetica

Now that's a snappy title for a blog post!!

I've been to the hospital today as part of a recurring series of appointments with numbness in the outside of my right thigh.

This has been ongoing for so long, I can't really remember when it started. Some time in 2011 I think. Last year, I started getting pain across the top of my knee along with the thigh numbness so I went and got it checked out.

An MRI scan revealed that nothing scary was going on and I was then referred to an orthopaedic specialist. He was 99% certain it was Meralgia Paresthetica, which is basically a nerve that is trapped or rubbing on a tendon in your hip. Wikipedia explains it in so much more detail! I was sent for a second opinion and MP was the confirmed diagnosis.

Since then I have had two cortisone injections around the nerve area in my hip and the numbness has decreased about 75-80% but persists above my knee and is creeping up the outside of my thigh. Today I was referred to a physiotherapist who explained that I need to perform stretches on my iliotibial band to further relieve my symptoms.

On the Wikipedia entry, there are a number of causes, some referring to cycling and having cleat position being too "toed-in". The miles I've done in cleats is absolutely insignificant compared to my flat pedalled miles (I only got my SPD pedals for Christmas).

So I'm curious - how many of you have had these "injuries" or conditions brought on by cycling? And how did you adjust your bike/riding style to avoid the pain coming back?

I'd appreciate any advice and suggestions you have in the comments!


  1. Hi was just googling and came across your post. I have meralgia parasthetica and iliotibial band tightness also. In my case it is not from cycling or running but from sitting with my legs crossed, I suspect. The other day I visited an excellent podiatrist and as a result of that visit became aware that many of my aches and pains over the years are caused by my iliotibial band being so tight. But the numbness and sensitivity of my thighs is caused by the MP.
    The podiatrist suggested using a physio roller (i lie down on my side with the roller beneath my thigh, roll over it for as long as I can bear) and I find this improves my knee pain immediately, am hoping over time it will help to prevent pain and tightness.
    Good luck!

    1. Thank you for that, the roller sounds like it is the way to go. My friend had a problem with his knee that in turn gave him IT band problems. He swore the roller was the best thing he tried.

      So, looks like I'll be Googling for a physio roller now!

      Thanks for the tip and for reading.

  2. Hi, this is exactly what I've been feeling! I've been cycling to work for the past 3 years (always with a very bent leg and misaligned toes). After starting a heavy exercise program last month my nerves and ilitotibial band coudn't take anymore so I've developed this numbness, a weird sensation when I touch the outer part of my right tigh. I was really alarmed thinking that it could be something really serious in my spine, but it turns out that not cycling relieves my symptoms :(
    I'll try to use cleats for now, do more streches and see how it goes!
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Tereza

      It's been a long time since this post and in that time not much has changed. However I have found that the foam roller and stretching, especially the hip flexors, helps.
      If you switch to cleats, take some time to get the position and bike set up correctly because this could cause more problems.

      Thanks for your comment, it's prompted me to write an update!


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