Thigh pain can come from any of your thigh, buttock, quadriceps or hamstring muscles also your hip, knee and lower back joints. To establish where exactly the thigh pain is, it can be very helpful at identifying what structure that could be causing the pain. Thigh pain can be caused by any of the muscles, tendons or joints or even nerves, so let’s look at the different types of structures in the thigh:
Each person’s case is unique and we want to address your specific needs. If you would like us to investigate or provide some insight, we invite you to contact us by clicking the link below.
Muscle pain The major muscle group in the front of the thigh includes the Quadriceps muscles and the Hamstring muscle group at the back. On the inside is a group of four muscles called the adductor group, and a strong band of connective tissue called the ITB (Iliotibial band) on the outside of the thigh.
Muscle strains are often called ‘muscle pulls’ or ‘pulled muscles’ because of the way these injuries occur, with the muscle tissue forcibly stretched until it is torn. Depending on the number of muscle fibers that are torn, hamstring and Quad muscle strains are classified as first degree (least severe), second degree (moderate severity) and third degree (most severe) strains.
Nerve supply to the thigh comes from two big branches called the femoral nerve in the front and the sciatic nerve at the back. There is a less commonly known nerve that supplies the outside of the thigh called the Lateral Cutaneous branch. Irritation, compression or impingement of these nerves can cause nerve pain in the thigh.
Sciatica is also a condition that can cause thigh pain at the back of the leg all the way to your toes. Your femoral nerve can cause nerve pain to the front of your thigh
Tendons are cables that anchors the bone to muscle tot the bone. Every muscle has a tendon on either side of the muscle, the one at at the top called the proximal tendon and one at the bottom, called the distal tendon. Any one or multiple tendons can become irritated causing a inflamed tendon which is followed by the suffix “itis”, for example: Quadriceps tendon-itis, an inflamed Quadriceps tendon.
Joints can refer pain downwards from the hip, or upwards from the knee. Joint pain is usually more difficult to pinpoint therefore a skilled set of hands would need to determine where the pain is coming from
Thigh pain is extremely common therefore we have helped many patient relieve their pain. Most thigh pain don’t start after a fall or injury, but usually develops over time, but it can occur as a result of sports injuries, work injuries or simply everyday leg use.
If you are suffering from thigh pain, rather get it checked. Please come and visit our your physiotherapist if you are feeling any type of thigh pain. Rather do something about it and get it looked at, than wait with your fingers crossed and hope it goes away.
An accurate diagnosis is vital to manage your pain and treat it appropriately, because what works for one problem rarely works for another. Many conditions can take many months or even years to heal when the diagnosis is incorrect or treatment is neglected. So be warned…
Thigh Pain in the …
Vastus Lateralis muscle tear or strain
ITB syndrome (Iliotibial band syndrome)
Bursitis of the Bursa deep to the Iliotibial band
Tensor Facsia Latae muscle strain
Inside the joint
Knee joint pathologies
Hip joint pathologies
Causes of Thigh pain
Thigh pain is one of the most common leg complaints that we see in your practice. Your thigh contains some of the larges muscles in your body, not to mention you use them every day. We rely on your thigh muscles to stand up, walk and run. The structures in the thigh is vulnerable to injury especially overuse injuries i.e. repetitive movements like a walking, climbing stairs and running.
Thigh pain may be caused by
- Trauma – Contusions, fractures and labrum injuries as well as muscle or ligament strains and sprains.
- Overuse – Tendon inflammation, athritis
- Autoimmune – Rheumatoid arthritis
- Referral from other joints – Hip or the knee joint
- Referral from nerves – Irritation, compression of the femoral or sciatic nerves.
- Visceral referral – Prostate, Overies, ect.
We are here to help
Our team of experts at Physio Pretoria can diagnose, test and treat any kind of thigh pain. We work together to get rid of your pain as fast as possible. We have the best tools, techniques and machines to make sure you get the best value for your money.
Our Physio, Renier Cilliers will test a lot of different possibilities why you may be feeling this pain and explain to you the process that you need to follow to start relieving it. It depends on the problem that we find and the results of the tests that will guide us to determine what needs to be done, but I can reassure you, you’ll be impressed.
Jaco Swart is an expert to determine multiple problems that can be involved, this means that he tests movements to see if you may have a muscle imbalance, weakness, instability and much, much more. He is a Sport Physiospecialized in conditioning your muscles to work at its best, he is an excellent teacher in the way he explains the intricate details of your problem and you will learn the medical terms relating to your problem.
Carli Jooste is a Joint specialist that can determine the slightest problem coming from you hip or knee, so if you are wondering if the joint is a problem, ask her. She is a pain expert that guides you every step of the way.
Labarre Jansen van Vuuren is our expert masseuse that is studying to become a Bio. She is a small lady with strong hands, she is a muscle fanatic and knows her way around trigger points, so if you are looking for a sports massage, she’ll gets rid of any knots in your muscles. Her goal is to restore the muscle back to it’s normal state.
All your Physios compliment each other in their approach to solve your problem.
Thigh Pain Treatment
- Acute injury treatment
- Soft tissue massage
- Electrotherapy treatment
- Laser (Low Level Laser therapy)
- Acupuncture & Dry Needling
- Heat packs (Thermal therapy)
- Kinesiology Tape
- Rigid Strapping or taping
- Neurodynamics (Nerve tissue mobilizations)
- Dynamic Strapping
- Strengthening exercises
- Guided loading protocol
- Stretches (Static, dynamic and ballistic)
- Moon boot
- Compression Bandage or
- Supportive strapping and taping
- Biomechanical Analysis
- Gait Analysis
What else could thigh pain be?
Tendinitis of the hamstring tendon would present as pain over the sit bone. The pain is usually worse after long periods of sitting or driving, or using the muscle with the hip bent, like doing deep lunges, a lot of stretches, or increasing your running speed or hill training. The pain may be felt at the start of exercise and then disappear as the body warms, only to return after you have cooled down.
Peripheral nerve entrapment of the Sciatic nerve
Our Sciatic nerve supplies our legs, this nerve can become entrapped along it’s pathway by scar tissue, although you may have had a minor or major hamstring injury before, if it was poorly managed or resolved and you may now experience nerve pain. The pain may be contained to the back of the thigh or spread below the knee, depending on the branches of the nerve that are pinched. Nerve pain will have a tingling quality and feels like pins and needles, numbness or weakness.
Femur stress fracture
Repetitive strain and excessive training may cause a stress fracture of the thigh bone (femur). This would be suspected if the pain is of more a dull quality and constantly there, irrespective of rest of load. Stress fracture may not be visible on normal X rays and referral to an Orthopaedic surgeon may be necessary to request either an MRI or CT-scan. Applying a manual load over the femur in assessment would increase your pain.
Knee Ligament injury (posterior cruciate ligament tear)
Injury to the structures of the knee may be experienced at the back of the knee where the hamstring muscle group split to attach to either side below the knee. The mechanism of injury or what aggravates your pain would lead us to look elsewhere to find the source of your symptoms.
Lumbar referred pain
Lower back pain may refer down to the hamstring area. This may be due to disc pathology, arthritis or facet joint strain. If your pain is referred from the lower back you would have experienced some kind of back ache leading up to your symptoms.