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.

Tell us your story

Muscle pain

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 pain

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

Tendon pain

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

Get more details about online consultation
Thigh Pain, Thigh injuries

Thigh Injuries

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, Thigh injuries, Quadriceps Tendinitis

Thigh Pain in the …


Quadriceps muscle tear or strain
Patellar tendonitis
Quadriceps tendinitis or tendinopathy
Pinched Femoral nerve
Femur Fracture



Hamstring muscle tear or strain
Hamstring tendinitis
Sciatica – pinched Sciatic nerve
Referred pain from Lower back (Lumbar)
Femur Fracture



Adductor muscle strain
Femoral nerve entrapment
Adductor tendinitis
Labrum tear



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

Labrum tear
Knee joint pathologies
Hip joint pathologies


Call us now

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.
Get expert advice

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.

Enquire about costs & availability

Thigh Pain Treatment

  • Acute injury treatment
  • Ultrasound
  • Medications
  • 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
  • Brace
  • Compression Bandage or
  • Sleeve
  • Supportive strapping and taping
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Gait Analysis
  • TENS

What else could thigh pain be?

Tendinitis of the Hamstring tendons

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.

Still unsure? Just fill in our online form & we’ll call you back

Why is your thigh pain lasting longer than expected?

  • You believed the pain would go away over time (on its own) but it didn’t

  • You went to the Doctor who told you to rest and take painkillers. The painkillers helped to relieve the immediate pain but didn’t help your injured thigh. As soon as the painkillers wore off, the thigh pain returned

  • A family member (or friend) told you that “Everybody experiences thigh pain as they grow older,” and that you should just accepted it

  • In the past you went to other Healthcare Professionals (or a Physiotherapist) but nothing they said or did seemed to help

  • YouTube exercises and home remedies didn’t help relieve the pain, or in some cases made the thigh pain ten times worse

  • You thought it would be a good idea to rest because your thigh was so sore. However, afterwards your thigh felt even more stiff and tight than before

  • You went for massages, hoping they would relieve the pain. The massages felt pleasant and relaxing, but didn’t do anything to fix your thigh pain in the long term

Enquire about costs & availability

Experiencing these situations or applying similar advice and not getting results is a good thing. Why? Because these experiences help you know what doesn’t work for you. It means that you are closer to finding out what does work for you!

We invite you to book an appointment with a Physiotherapist (at our Pretoria practice). During an appointment we assess your symptoms, diagnose the cause, educate you about what is happening in your body and then start treatment. See our FAQ for more in depth information about what to expect from a physiotherapy session.

Alternatively, click the link below to book a FREE phone call. The phone call is complimentary and there is no obligation to book any appointments with us after the call is over. This is an opportunity to get an expert’s advice about your situation. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision about what to do next concerning your muscle pain.

Still unsure? Just fill in our online form & we’ll call you back

Choose a Cilliers & Swart Physiotherapist to aid you in getting rid of your thigh pain

What can we do for you?

  • We quickly put an end to pain and stiffness – often within a couple of sessions

  • We help you find out what is going on in your body and help you understand the root cause of your thigh pain

  • Pain can rob you of sleep or rest. We make it easier for you to return to your normal sleeping patterns and positions so that your energy and potential for recovery increases

  • Cilliers & Swart Physiotherapists closely manage and treat your problem. We also provide you with related exercises to speed up your recovery

  • Using painkillers in the long-term can be harmful to your health. We help you lower or completely stop your need for painkillers to manage pain

  • Our physiotherapists safeguard you against dangerous and costly surgeries and painful injections

  • We reduce visits to specialists or doctors who only order you to take more pills

  • Thigh pain can limit the activities you enjoy with your family and friends. Our experts help you get back to spending quality time on the activities you (and your loved ones) like

  • We can get you to sit comfortably and walk longer than 15 minutes, in both cases without feeling that your thigh is weak, in pain or about to collapse

In short, we help you get back to living life free from thigh pain. For information about costs and availability, click the button below:

Call us now

4 steps to get rid of thigh pain quickly.

  • Decide to get help.
    Many people put off going for treatment, that by the time they receive treatment the injury has worsened over time or caused other problems. Don’t think that thigh pain will ‘just go away with time’. It might sound brave to ‘put up with pain’ over an extended period of time, but the lack of treatment could end up costing you more in terms of time (for recovery) and resources (money) the longer you wait.

  • Do the RIGHT exercises.
    One of the best things to help ease your thigh pain is an appropriate series of progressed exercises (as advised by your Physiotherapist or Health Professional). The right kind of activities can reduce your pain and increase your range of movement. Above all, exercises ensure that problems don’t come back. However, the wrong kind of exercises have the potential to increase the pain in your thigh even more.

  • Avoid sitting still for long periods.
    Ever tried to get up from the sofa after resting for a while, but you struggle? That’s because one of the worst things you can do is to ‘rest’ in a sitting position for too long. As a safety measure we recommend specific strengthening exercises for better posture. We can help you get active by combining these exercises with our Physiotherapists’ hands-on treatment.

  • Get hands-on Physiotherapy treatment.
    Physiotherapy is proven to improve the lives of people suffering from thigh pain. Thigh pain could be affecting your physical performance in a professional or private capacity. It could even threaten your independence or get in the way of spending quality time with family and friends. Physiotherapy can enable you to live the life you desire as quickly as possible.

If you would like to know how the Physiotherapy team at Cilliers & Swart can help you, we invite you to book a FREE, no-obligation, risk-freeCall me backphone call.

Note: This Free Call is a service we offer to people who are nervous or unsure. You might not know if Physiotherapy is the right treatment for you. If you are unsure, please fill out our online form. We will contact you to find out what is wrong and how we can help. There is no financial obligation or risk on your part. You have nothing to lose except your pain.

Book a Free call to talk to a Physio