Thigh pain, belt or braces? A painful decision

Saturday, May 18th, 2019

Believe it or not, braces are not a thing of the past. Pause for a moment to consider why braces may be SO much better for you than your trusty belt – particularly if you suffer with leg pain.

For a start, men simply do not have the ideal shape when it comes to wearing a belt. With minimal hips, what is there to keep a belt in place other than making the belt tighter and tighter in the hope that something will not go ‘ping’? Additionally and most importantly, the compression around your waist does nothing for the general wellbeing of everything below your waist such as your back, bladder and prostate and the nerves to your legs – particularly when sitting.

If you are experiencing discomfort around the front or side of your thigh (often described as a burning sensation), you may be suffering from a condition called Meralgia Paraesthetica. This is caused by compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. This nerve provides sensory information from the thigh and can become compressed for various reasons such as tight clothing, obesity or weight gain, pregnancy, local trauma or damaged by a disease, such as diabetes.

Where examination suggests compression to be a likely cause, I recommend an immediate switch to loose trousers and braces or elasticated trousers, as part of the treatment approach. For both male and female patients there may also be tenderness around an area of the pelvis called the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) as shown in the picture.

Of course, I should also include tool belts in this article too since it is not uncommon to see a patient who has been hanging their drills, hammers and various other tools on their work belt only to develop leg pain caused by the pressure on their back. If you have ever felt the weight of a Police belt and considered how this has to be carried all day, this is not an easy task and that’s before you add the weight of protective clothing!

So next time you reach for that belt, you may want to consider something more comfortable whether you are on a roof, setting off on that long drive or on holiday.