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Inner Thigh Pain

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Inner thigh pain can cause a lot of discomfort, preventing the sufferer from performing simple daily activities. Its duration and severity are dependent on the exact cause that led to the pain in the first place. The inner thigh pain can last from as little as a few minutes to a couple of hours. It can manifest itself as a generalized type of pain or it can affect specific areas of the inner thigh. Sometimes, it appears a stabbing pain, keeping the patient awake at night. This particular type of pain often appears in persons who do a lot of physical exercise but it can also appear as the consequence of an underlying health condition.

As it was already mentioned, the inner thigh pain can be so severe that it will prevent the person from performing daily tasks. Physical training is also going to be difficult, if not impossible. Sleeping can be affected by the sharp pain and the person might also experience difficulties when it comes to walking or using the stairs. The pain can radiate to other parts of the body, such as knee or the groin. Sometimes, it can extend so far as to cover the entire leg. The inner thigh pain can be present at all times (constant) or it can come and go (intermittent). Apart from the actual pain, the person can also present swelling, stiffness (the movements of the leg are restricted partially or totally) and a burning sensation. Identifying the exact cause is essential for the right treatment to be provided.

Causes of Inner Thigh Pain

Lower inner thigh pain causes

These are the most common causes of the lower inner thigh pain:

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  • Hamstring injury or strain
    • Sudden and violent contraction of the hamstring muscles can result in injuries or straining
    • Often appears when the hamstring muscles are less developed than the quadriceps muscles
  • Compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve
    • Sharp pain accompanied by burning sensation
    • Tingling or numbness might also be present in the area
    • Can irradiate to other parts of the leg
    • Often appears just on one side of the body
    • The patient is extremely sensitive when being gently touched in the area (handles firm pressure better)
  • Cartilage tear (knee)
    • Meniscus tears (complete or partial) can cause lower inner thigh pain
    • Mobility in the knee is restricted
    • The patient appears to have the knee ‘blocked’
  • Osteoarthritis (knee)
    • Inflammatory process
    • Pain is felt in the knee and can irradiate to the lower part of the inner thigh
    • Swelling and warmth might also be present
  • Surgery – knee replacement
    • Inner thigh pain can appear during the recovery period
    • Consequence of muscle straining during surgery
    • Can appear because of the immobilization of the knee after the surgery
  • Excessive physical exercise
    • Strained muscles are responsible for the lower inner thigh pain
  • Cancer – osteosarcoma
    • Pain appears in the latter stages of the cancer
  • Septic arthritis
    • Infectious organisms are fixed in the joint, causing pain at a local level
    • The pain can radiate to the lower inner thigh
  • Lipoma
    • Pain can occur in case of bigger lipoma present on the lower inner thigh
  • Edema
    • Accumulation of excessive fluid can lead to pain

Upper inner thigh pain causes

These are the most common causes of the upper inner thigh pain:

  • Osteoarthritis (hip)
    • Inflammatory process
    • Pain is felt in the hip and can irradiate to the upper part of the inner thigh
    • Swelling and warmth might also be present
  • Surgery – hip replacement
    • Inner thigh pain can appear during the recovery period
    • Consequence of muscle straining during surgery
    • Can appear because of the immobilization of the hip after the surgery
  • Excessive physical exercise
    • Strained muscles are responsible for the upper inner thigh pain
  • Pubis dysfunction
    • Dysfunctions related to the pelvic floor are often associated with pain, as this can radiate to the upper inner thigh
  • Groin pull
    • Often seen in athletes
    • High level of pain and reduced mobility
  • Cancer – osteosarcoma
    • Pain appears in the latter stages of the cancer
  • Septic arthritis
    • Infectious organisms are fixed in the joint, causing pain at a local level
    • The pain can radiate to the upper inner thigh
  • Sciatica
    • Sciatic nerve irritation
  • Lipoma
    • Pain can range from mild to severe
  • Hernia
    • Inguinal hernias are obvious physically and they cause a lot of pain
  • Pregnancy
    • Can lead to upper inner thigh pain, due to the growing uterus
  • Edema
    • Accumulation of excessive fluid can lead to pain
  • Adductors pull
    • Excessive physical exercise and sudden movements lead to pain

Treatment

These are the most common methods of treatment recommended for inner thigh pain:

  • For muscle strains, the general protocol is R.I.C.E
    • Rest
    • Ice
    • Compression
    • Elevation
  • Physical therapy
    • Warm up exercises
    • Thigh and butt exercises
    • Inner thigh exercises
    • Gentle stretching exercises – especially recommended for groin or adductor pulls
  • Hydro-physical therapy
    • Movements are easier under water than in the air
    • Faster recovery, better healing
    • Recommended for pregnant women and also for those suffering from pelvic dysfunctions
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
    • Recommended as symptomatic treatment, bringing pain relief, reducing the inflammation and redness in the area
    • Common recommendations include Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen
    • Anti-inflammatory creams or ointments are also recommended for inner thigh pain but these have limited effects, especially when the pain is intense
  • Massage
    • Relieves the muscle tension
    • Stimulates the blood circulation, which in turn promotes healing
  • Cold applications
    • Ice packs are recommended in order to reduce the inflammation
    • These should not be applied directly to the skin, as they can cause circulatory problems
    • The ice packs should be maintained for maximum 30 minutes
  • Heat applications
    • These are recommended because of the pain relieving properties
    • If the area is already warm to the touch, the one should refrain from applying heat
  • Elastic bandages
    • Support the strained muscles
    • Pain relieving effect.


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