Inner thigh pain occurs in people when the thigh muscles weaken. It may be due to muscle strains, sprains, or muscular injury due to sports or other activities.
How would you feel with inner upper thigh pain? You would wonder what’s happening and how to get relief. It could give a feel of pulled muscle due to heavy activity. Alternatively, it could indicate a blood clot or a muscle injury.
Thigh pain lasts for a temporary period. In rare cases, it may become chronic and become life-threatening. Let us read further to learn about inner thigh pain, its causes, symptoms, and treatment.
What is Inner Thigh Pain?
It is a sharp pain in the inner thigh muscles. Also, it feels like a dull ache in the muscles of the thigh area. These muscles have an alternative name called adductor muscles or adductors.
The adductors are located close to the groin area. The groin lies between the hip and the stomach, just below the hip socket.
Causes and Risk Factors of Inner Thigh Pain
Most thigh pain is never a serious problem. However, it can result from underlying health conditions or muscle strain in the groin area.
The possible causes and other symptoms help one decide to seek medical attention. Hence, it’s crucial to understand the causes of thigh pain as a primary step toward treatment.
The most common cause of pain in the inner thigh is groin strain or pull. Groin pain in the inner thigh occurs due to intense stress or a tear of one of the muscles in the groin.
Ignoring warm-ups before a workout or overuse of muscles can cause groin strain. Sports people are also prone to groin strains. These include jumping, running, volleyball, basketball, or hockey.
(DVT)Deep Vein Thrombosis/Blood Clot
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot, is one of the most severe causes of inner thigh pain. The body’s deep veins are prone to blood clots. Deep blood clots occur in the lower leg but are also possible in the inner thigh.
This blood clot can also result in Pulmonary Embolism. It is a vital medical condition where the blood clot affects the lungs.
When the inner thigh muscles or adductors get torn or strained, it results in muscular injury. It occurs in vigorous sports activities like jumping or running. These muscle injuries result in severe inner thigh pain. Furthermore, swelling and bruises also go with the existing thigh injury.
Hip joint problems are also one of the reasons for inner thigh pain. It occurs near the pelvic area. One such hip pain in the lower thigh is Osteoarthritis (OA). Osteoarthritis (OA) creates stiffness, inflammation, and joint pain.
It is the arthritis type where the cartilage cushioning the bone joints breaks down. Thigh pain caused by Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs on one side during a walk or physical activity.
Another problem is Hip Joint Impingement. It is a deformity in the hip joints and stresses the groin area.
Hernia is an abnormal condition that creates an internal bulge or lump in the groin. It occurs when internal organs push toward weak muscles or tissues.
The most common category of hernia is Inguinal Hernia. It occurs in the lower abdomen of the groin. The intestines thrust through the lower abdomen, resulting in a bulge to grow.
Another type of hernia causing pain in the upper thigh is Femoral Hernia. The tissues of the bowel move through the inner thigh groin muscle.
A Kidney Stone
Kidney stones are crystal-like solid lump formations in the kidneys. They create severe pain and discomfort while passing through the urinary tract.
Kidney stones are concentrates or deposits of salts and minerals. Sometimes, they cause pain in the lower back and radiate toward the groin or the inner thigh.
During pregnancy, inner thigh pain is the usual condition as there is pressure on the pelvic area. An abnormality that causes severe pain during pregnancy is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). It occurs as the pelvic bone becomes unstable and the joints become stiff.
During SPD, a hormone called Relaxin gets released by the placenta. It relaxes the ligaments of the pelvic bone and results in pain in the inner thigh and inflammation.
Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)
Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI) is an abnormal bone growth near the hip joint. The bones develop in an irregular shape, and they rub against each other. These cause joint damage and aching in the inner thigh with stiffness.
Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome
The Iliotibial Band (ITB) is a thick fibrous tissue along the outer leg. Starting at the hip, it continues to the shin bone, called the Tibia. This ITB supports the knee and muscles of the outer thigh.
It occurs when the ITB rubs over the thigh bone while bending or straightening the knees. This repetitive activity causes irritation, inflammation, and knee pain. But it also causes pain in the thigh, moving towards the inner thigh.
In Spinal stenosis, the spine narrows as a result of degenerative changes. The pressure exerted on the spinal cord causes leg pain. This pain also radiates to the thighs and occurs in both legs and thighs.
The outer thigh becomes numb, painful, and tingly with this disorder. Compression of the Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve (LFCN) causes this condition. These are major sensory nerves of the lower body and the legs that provide sensation to the thighs.
Hamstring Tendon Strain
Hamstring tendon strain has an alternate name called Hamstring Tendonitis. It is the inflammation of tendons due to a hamstring injury. The condition results in tendon tears, swelling, aches, and stiffness.
The above points clarify the probable causes of thigh pain. So, let’s move on to its risk factors. The causes of inner thigh pain vary, but certain risk factors develop the pain. The factors that evolve the pain are:
Exercise without warm-up
Shooting pain, swelling, and inflammation
Burning sensation and thigh numbness or heaviness
Skin discoloration and tenderness
Thigh weakness and stiff muscles
Pain in the front of the thigh with sudden onset (tear of quadriceps muscles)
Difficulty walking and climbing stairs
Clicking or grinding during movement
Warmth or redness on the affected leg
Blood and pain during urination (Kidney Stones)
Diagnosis and Treatment
Doctors perform several diagnostic tests for an accurate diagnosis of inner thigh pain. These tests are as follows:
The Physical examination provides the symptoms near the hip and thigh area.
Medical history gives data on the patient’s and family’s history of medical treatments.
X-rays examine the knee, thigh, and hip bones to check for factors causing the pain.
Blood tests provide data on swelling, inflammation, or tenderness in the leg and thigh.
Electromyographic (EMG) tests provide data on the functioning of thigh nerves.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) shows data on images of the soft tissues around the thigh.
Ultrasound tests help to visualize veins and arteries around the thigh to check for a blood clot.
Treatment for inner thigh pain depends on the diagnosis. It’s possible to reduce its symptoms with home remedies and medical treatment.
Physical Therapy Exercises
Physical therapy is an excellent technique to reduce pain in the upper thigh and the groin. Therapists suggest various stretching exercises to get rid of muscle and joint problems.
Static and dynamic stretches help to strengthen and tone up the adductor muscles. Additionally, it relieves the thigh pain caused by the quadriceps or hamstring strain.
Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE)
It is a simple self-care procedure that speeds up injury healing and eases pain. Resting from any activity on the thighs after an injury or strain is crucial to avoid further pain.
Next, applying an ice pack or cold therapy reduces pain and inflammation. The chillness of ice constricts the blood vessels and initiates the flow of blood.
Then, a compression or bandage wrapped around the area affected will reduce swelling. The wrap must not be too tight as it interrupts the blood flow.
Last, elevation or raising the injured area on pillows minimizes swelling. The raise should be above the level of the heart while relaxing or lying down.
Healthcare providers may suggest anti-inflammatory medications for inflammations like a hamstring strain. Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications or prescription medicines may lessen the pain for mild symptoms. Painkillers or blood thinning medication also help reduce pain in some cases.
Hot Bath or Compression
Hot compression or soaking muscles in a hot bath is an excellent method to ease the pain. It reduces inflammation of thigh muscles and helps relieve pressure.
Pelvic Support Belts
Pelvic support belts are devices used to treat Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). In times of pregnancy pain, it assists in stabilizing the pelvis.
Incorporating lifestyle changes like healthy weight reduces pressure on the joints and muscles.
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Thigh pain can be painful and make daily movement pathetic. Sometimes, it isn’t severe and heals on its own. Treating the pain with adequate rest, ice, heat, or medications provides proper healing.
Warm-ups, exercise, and a healthy weight are the ways to prevent inner thigh pain. If symptoms worsen, seek immediate medical attention or a professional medical advice.