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10 Upper Leg Pain Causes, Treatment, and More
Deep vein thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. Most deep vein clots occur in the lower leg or thigh.
Top Symptoms: fever, thigh pain, upper leg swelling, calf pain, butt pain
Urgency: Hospital emergency room
Greater trochanteric pain syndrome
Greater trochanteric pain syndrome, also called trochanteric bursitis or GTPS, is an inflammation of the bursa of the greater trochanter. Bursae are the small “cushions” between tendons, bones, and muscles. The greater trochanter is th..
Patellofemoral pain syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is also called runner’s knee, jumper’s knee, anterior knee pain, chondromalacia patella, and patellofemoral joint syndrome.
Overuse through training for sports is a common cause, especially if there is a misalignment in the knee joint or a previous knee injury. This wears away the cartilage beneath the kneecap and causes pain on exercising.
It is most common in females and in young adults who are active in sports, but can affect anyone.
Symptoms include dull pain at the front of the knee and around the kneecap (patella) while running, squatting, or climbing stairs, or after prolonged sitting with knees bent.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination and through x-rays, CT scan, and/or MRI.
Treatment most often involves rest; over-the-counter pain relievers; low-impact exercise such as swimming or bicycling; physical therapy to strengthen and stabilize the knee; and orthotics (shoe inserts) to help correct a misaligned stride.
Surgery is needed only for severe cases, and is done through arthroscopy to remove any fragments of damaged cartilage.
Top Symptoms: knee pain, pain in one knee, knee pain that gets worse when going up stairs, dull, achy knee pain, knee pain that gets worse when squatting
Symptoms that always occur with patellofemoral pain syndrome: knee pain
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Thigh nerve issue (meralgia paresthetica)
Meralgia paresthetica is a nerve condition that causes an area of skin over the upper outer thigh to feel numb, tingly, or painful. This is caused by compression of a nerve known as the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh as it passes underneath a tough fibrous ligament known as the inguinal ligament.
Top Symptoms: pain in the outside of the hip, pain in one thigh, thigh numbness, tingling upper leg, hip numbness
Symptoms that never occur with thigh nerve issue (meralgia paresthetica): new headache, swollen hip, swollen hips, swelling of one hip, leg swelling, weakness of both legs, leg weakness
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Repetitive strain injury of the quadriceps
Repetitive strain injury of the upper leg is caused by consistent repetitive use.
Top Symptoms: upper leg numbness, thigh weakness, thigh pain from overuse
Symptoms that always occur with repetitive strain injury of the quadriceps: thigh pain from overuse
Symptoms that never occur with repetitive strain injury of the quadriceps: upper leg injury, severe upper leg pain
The spine, or backbone, protects the spinal cord and allows people to stand and bend. Spinal stenosis causes narrowing in the spine. The narrowing puts pressure on nerves and the spinal cord and can cause pain.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that shoots to the butt, difficulty walking, thigh pain
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Repetitive strain injury of the hamstring
Repetitive strain injury of the upper leg is caused by consistent repetitive use.
Top Symptoms: upper leg numbness, thigh weakness, hamstring pain from overuse
Symptoms that always occur with repetitive strain injury of the hamstring: hamstring pain from overuse
Symptoms that never occur with repetitive strain injury of the hamstring: upper leg injury, severe upper leg pain
Mild/moderate hip arthritis
Arthritis of the hip is inflammation of one or more of the joints in the hip. Pain, swelling, and stiffness are the primary symptoms of arthritis. Hip arthritis can make it hard to do many everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. It is a major cause of lost work time and a serious disability for many people.
Top Symptoms: hip pain, difficulty walking, pain in one hip, limping, groin pain
Symptoms that always occur with mild/moderate hip arthritis: hip pain
Symptoms that never occur with mild/moderate hip arthritis: severe hip pain
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Iliotibial (it) band syndrome (‘runner’s knee’)
Iliotibial band syndrome is also called ITBS or IT syndrome. The iliotibial band is a long, thick piece of connective tissue that begins at the top of the hip bone, runs down the outside of the leg, and attaches at the side of the knee.
ITBS is an overuse syndrome. Athletes in heavy training are susceptible to it, especially runners and cyclists. Pain and inflammation result if the far end of the iliotibial band constantly rubs against the outside of the knee joint.
Symptoms include pain on the outside of the knee, especially while running or while sitting with the knee flexed.
Diagnosis is made through patient history and physical examination, with simple stretching tests to identify the exact location of the pain. An MRI is sometimes ordered.
Treatment involves rest; ice; over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; stretching exercises for the iliotibial band; strengthening of the upper leg muscles; and, if needed, changes in the way the person strides or trains. Corticosteroid injections can be helpful and surgery may be tried in some cases.
Top Symptoms: knee pain, pain in one knee, dull, achy knee pain, knee pain that gets worse when going down stairs, sharp knee pain
Symptoms that always occur with iliotibial (it) band syndrome (‘runner’s knee’): knee pain
Urgency: Primary care doctor
What can cause upper thigh pain?
Upper thigh pain is a common issue. In some cases, it’s not very alarming; however, in other instances, it can be a severe medical issue. The usual symptoms of upper thigh pain are numbness, burning sensation, tingling, difficulty walking, and itching.
If the pain comes on suddenly and does not respond to the usual treatment, such as resting, applying heat, and using an ice pack, then it’s time to call for medical help. At GuruMD, you can get a medical consultation right away with our licensed physicians. There are various causes of upper thigh pain, and here are the common conditions that you can check out.
Related: Everything You Need To Know To Treat A Sprained Ankle
Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome often occurs in the outer part of the upper thigh. This is often caused by repetitive movement, pressure, and injury. This usually happens to female athletes who play sports that require constant running.
Activities and conditions that can worsen GTPS include:
- Lying on the affected side
- Hip muscle weakness
- Pain that worsens over time, and
- Pain that happens after weight-bearing exercises.
The treatment of this medical condition includes applying ice, heat, physical therapy, weight loss, steroid injections, and taking anti-inflammatory medications. To find out which treatment is best for you, contact a physician at GuruMD.
The iliotibial band travels down the thigh from the hip and skin. It can become stiff and inflamed. The symptoms include swelling, pain, and tightness. The treatment for this includes physical therapy, resting, painkiller medication, and applying ice and heat.
There are a lot of sensitive nerves that run between the spines. Spinal stenosis occurs when the vertebral canal narrows, therefore compressing the nerves that run through it. When this happens, it can lead to radiating pain that can affect the upper thigh and leg.
Your thighs with feel heavy and numb as well as significant back pain. Spinal stenosis is often worse when the back is extended because that strengthens the compression. In addition to that, standing and walking exacerbate the pain, but sitting and back flexion alleviates it.
Repetitive stress on your thigh muscles can lead to inflammation, pain, and swelling of the tendon, known as tendonitis. The symptoms of hamstrings or quadriceps tendonitis make it difficult to walk or climb the stairs. It also weakens the muscles in the upper thigh and can cause pain in the thigh near the knee or hip. The symptoms can last for 4 to 6 weeks, and gentle exercise and rest are the best courses of action.
A stroke is often caused by high blood pressure and smoking. It involves a clot obstructing the blood vessels in the brain. When this happens, it can damage the way the nerves control the muscles. This can lead to severe tightness and spasticity that affects the muscles controlling the upper thighs and legs. That is why a lot of stroke patients often experience pain in various areas of their bodies like the upper thigh.
There are a significant number of muscles in the upper thigh, so pain in that region is often due to a muscle sprain or strain. This can impact the tendons and ligaments in the thigh.
A sprain is an overstretched or torn ligament, and the ligament functions to connect the bone with another bone. A strain, on the other hand, is an overstretched or torn tendon or muscle, and tendons function to connect the muscles to the bone.
Either way, symptoms you may experience include pain that radiate in a different direction, difficulty moving and stretching the thigh, swelling in the affected area, and sudden pain after an intense workout.
An overuse injury can occur when the muscles around the upper thigh area remain active for such a long period. This can be due to excessive exercise or activity that can over exhaust the muscles. The pain would get worse over time and with repeated movement. The best treatment strategy for this is to rest the muscles and apply alternating ice and heat.
Not getting enough exercise and spending the majority of the day sitting on a chair can apply pressure to the joints and muscles. The lack of activity can weaken the muscle leading to a multitude of pain. Keep in mind that a sedentary lifestyle can induce pain throughout the body, and can change in intensity throughout time. This is also mainly because a sedentary lifestyle can stiffen the muscles and make them vulnerable to pain.
If a person feels pain in the hip or knee region, it can radiate to the upper thigh, causing stiff muscles and pain in that region as well.
Peripheral neuropathy is often due to nerve injury or severe diabetes. High blood sugar levels and injuries can damage nearby nerves resulting in symptoms of numbness, tingling sensation, shooting pain, and burning sensation. Usually, the treatment of choice is prescription gabapentin to reduce the symptoms.
This is due to the damage and pressure on the lateral part of the cutaneous nerve that is located on the outer region of the thigh. It can lead to a burning and shooting sensation that causes constant numbness in the upper thigh and hip.
The sciatic nerve is located in the lower back, and branches off and spread down to the thighs and legs. Any injury or irritation in the sciatic nerve can result in radiating pain that can travel to the upper thighs, and shoot down the legs.
If this is the case, definitely see the doctor for an MRI to check. The treatment for sciatic nerves is often anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, muscle relaxant, and in rare cases, surgery.
DVT stands for deep vein thrombosis, and it’s a blood clot that often appears in the lower legs. However, it can also be on the upper thigh resulting in pain, swelling, warm sensation, tenderness, and bluish discoloration.
The problem with DVT is that it can break off and travel to the heart and lungs, leading to pulmonary embolism, which can result in shortness of breath, chest pain, rapid pulse, coughing up blood, and dizziness.
The risk factors of DVT are estrogen medication, birth control, smoking, family history of DVT, injury to the veins, obesity, pregnancy, and surgery. Treatment of DVT is heparin and warfarin prescription blood thinners.
What can an online doctor do for you? Find out at GuruMD’s FAQ page.
There are minor conditions such as bruises that can occur in the upper thigh. The pain is often throbbing, but will not radiate anywhere else.
Have minor upper thigh pain? Learn how GuruMD can give you a virtual house call to diagnose your symptoms.
There are also other chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia where patients would experience widespread pain and fatigue at a specific area like the upper thigh. Arthritis and osteoarthritis can result in joint pain in the thigh.
The risk factor for upper thigh pain is a chronic medical condition such as arthritis and diabetes, intensive workout, sedentary lifestyle, sports, injuries, and poor circulation.
When you see a doctor, there are various ways that the provider can diagnose you. There are imaging tests such as MRI, CT scan, ultrasound, an x-ray.
There are blood tests to look for specific elements to help with the diagnosis, such as CBC, ESR, white blood cell count, and much more. Procedures like joint aspiration can remove fluid from the joint to check for underlying problems like infection. Electromyography can check for neuropathy. After talking to a physician at GuruMD, they will recommend next steps so you can get the proper testing and treatment.
The treatment of upper thigh pain depends on the underlying medical condition. Minor issues can be managed at home with plenty of rest, painkillers, heat, ice, elevation, compression, and massages. However, there are also other forms of treatment. These include physical therapy, surgery, prescription medication, blood thinners, acupuncture, massage, and chiropractic solutions.
If upper thigh pain is left untreated, it can radiate to other areas in the body resulting in chronic pain. The most common complication is a blood clot in the upper thigh that can break off and block an artery. This is called an embolism, and it can be extremely fatal.
The best step in preventing upper thigh pain include daily stretching, being active, avoid going over the limit when it comes to exercising, work out with a personal trainer, and manage medical conditions such as arthritis and diabetes.
Usually, upper thigh pain is curable. The first step is to diagnose the problem and obtain the proper treatment. Keep in mind that not all illness is treatable. It may take multiple treatments before experiencing some improvement. Most people recover, while others would have to wait months or even years to experience any improvement. The sooner you talk to a medical professional, the better.
There are a variety of causes to upper thigh pain. If medication such as painkillers, icing, warmth, stretches, and rest does not help, then definitely see a doctor.
Keep in mind that upper thigh cane can be due to something as simple as a harmless like a sprain and strain to something more complex like neuropathy, clots, and other medical issues. It can be overwhelming because of the vast array of causes. That is why if the pain does not go away, you should see a provider for a physical exam and blood test. Take a look at GuruMD subscription plans for a medical diagnosis related to upper thigh pain and other ailments.
Related: Why Should I Use An Online Doctor?
When to See a Doctor for Thigh Pain
Your thighs have some of the longest, largest and strongest muscles in the body. Three sets of muscles make up the thighs—the quadriceps in front, the hamstrings in back, and adductors on the sides. They work together to extend and flex the knee and hip, and to rotate the hip. These movements help you complete everyday activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, and sitting down.
Thigh pain might not be unusual depending on your lifestyle. If you’re regularly active, you may have thigh muscle pain from time to time if you exercise extra hard, start a new exercise routine, or have a minor muscle strain. These episodes of thigh pain are usually nothing to worry about. But there can be times when thigh pain is a sign that you should see a doctor. Here’s a look at various thigh pain causes and when thigh pain may be a reason for concern.
Some thigh pain causes are more obvious than others, such as trauma that results in a significant bruise on the thigh. The symptoms you experience and your medical history can offer clues to the underlying cause when it isn’t so obvious. For example, burning thigh pain can be a symptom of nerve damage from conditions such as diabetes, scar tissue, or obesity.
Cellulitis is an infection under the skin’s surface and deep tissues underneath the skin. It causes pain, tenderness, swelling and warmth. The infection can also cause an area of skin redness that expands or grows. Red streaks, blisters, open sores, and pus-filled bumps can be present as well. While cellulitis is common, it can turn into a serious infection very quickly. Seek immediate medical care for any of these symptoms.
DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)
A DVT is a serious cause of thigh pain. These blood clots develop in the deep veins of the body, such as the ones buried in the thigh. They are dangerous because they can break loose and travel to the lungs where they block blood flow. This is a PE (pulmonary embolism), which can be fatal.
A DVT usually starts as pain, swelling and warmth in the affected leg. The leg can also look red or discolored. Seek immediate medical care if you have these symptoms. You could potentially be having a medical emergency.
Conditions that cause damage, compression, entrapment or inflammation of a nerve can lead to thigh pain. Peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage frequently due to diabetes, is one such condition. Most often, peripheral neuropathy affects the feet and lower legs. But it’s possible for the thigh to be involved.
More commonly, nerve-related thigh pain is due to compression or inflammation of the sciatic nerve or lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. When the sciatic nerve becomes irritated, you may feel burning or shooting pain down the back of the thigh. Lateral femoral cutaneous nerve irritation can cause burning, tingling or numbness in the outer part of your thigh. Make an appointment to see your doctor promptly if you have these symptoms.
PAD (Peripheral Artery Disease)
PAD is a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to your limbs, usually the legs. It’s most often the result of atherosclerosis. It can cause painful cramping, numbness, weakness and coldness in your legs, including the thighs. As the disease progresses, you can develop sores and hair loss on your legs. These symptoms aren’t a normal part of aging. Visit your doctor if you have these symptoms. Complications can be serious, possibly resulting in loss of the limb, heart attack, or stroke.
Trauma and Injury
Traumatic causes of thigh pain include things like bruises, muscle strains, ligament sprains, tendinitis, and bone fractures and dislocations. Sometimes, you can see the trauma, so it’s clear what’s causing thigh pain. If you have visible trauma to your thigh, you may need immediate medical attention depending on the severity of the injury.
Some trauma isn’t so easy to recognize. Overuse injuries can lead to pain from ongoing inflammation and irritation of muscles, ligaments or tendons. If the injury involves structures of the knee, you may feel thigh pain close to that joint. If the hip is the culprit, thigh pain can be high and deep. If you have persistent achy pain or pain with certain activities, see your doctor for an evaluation.
Varicose veins are swollen, twisted or knotted veins. They are superficial veins, so they are usually easy to see. Sometimes, varicose veins aren’t painful. But they can cause feelings of pain, itching, burning, throbbing, achiness or heaviness. The veins in the legs are most likely to become varicosed, which can result in thigh pain. See your doctor if you have bothersome varicose veins that don’t respond to home care. Complications are rare, but treatment may be an option to relieve symptoms.
Other Thigh Pain Causes
Other possible causes of thigh pain or discomfort include:
- RLS (restless legs syndrome), which is a movement disorder causing a powerful urge to move your legs to relieve discomfort or abnormal sensations
Contact your doctor if you suspect either one of these conditions.
Home Thigh Pain Treatment
Most cases of mild thigh pain and minor thigh injuries will respond to home care. Strategies include RICE—rest, ice, compression and elevation to relieve pain and swelling. Heat is another option if it feels good. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also be helpful. Other conservative measures include gentle stretching exercises, avoiding prolonged standing or sitting, and not wearing tight clothing. If symptoms persist for several days despite home care, it’s time to see your doctor.
In the long-run, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight to take strain off your muscles and joints. Regular exercise will keep your muscles and bones strong and healthy as well.
Thigh problems – Muscle, bone and joint injuries
Thigh problems can cause a range of symptoms including pain, swelling and bruising.
In many cases, new or flare-up of long-standing thigh problems should begin to settle within 6 weeks without the need to see a healthcare professional.
When to seek help
Speak to a healthcare professional as soon as possible if you have difficulty putting any weight at all on your leg.
What causes thigh problems?
Thigh problems can be the result of an injury caused by:
- overstretching or twisting during activities or sport
- a fall
- a direct blow to the thigh
Pain on the outside of your thigh may also come on for no apparent reason.
Can this cause problems anywhere else?
You may feel some pain in the muscles around your hip, knee or calf. This should improve as your thigh problem gets better.
Occasionally, problems felt in your thigh can be caused by a back problem even though you don’t feel pain in your back. People with this sort of problem often describe the pain as:
- pins and needles
- hot or burning
Keeping active is an essential part of your treatment and recovery and is the single best thing you can do for your health.
Being physically active can:
- maintain your current levels of fitness – even if you have to modify what you normally do, any activity is better than none
- keep your other muscles and joints strong and flexible
- prevent a recurrence of the problem
- help you aim for a healthy body weight
Avoid sports or heavy lifting until you have less discomfort and good movement. Remember to warm up fully before you start sporting activities.
Exercises to help with thigh problems
Resting or moving?
Within the first 24 to 48 hours after a thigh problem you should try to:
- rest your leg but avoid long spells of not moving at all
- move your leg gently for 10 to 20 seconds every hour when you are awake
After 48 hours:
- try to use your leg more – exercise really helps your thigh and can relieve pain
- do whatever you normally would and stay at, or return to work – this is important and is the best way to get better
- lead with your good leg when going upstairs to reduce the strain on your thigh
- lead with your problem leg when going downstairs to reduce the strain on your thigh
- use a handrail (if available) when going up and downstairs
Pain medication can help to reduce the pain and help you move more comfortably, which can help your recovery.
Speak to your community pharmacist or other healthcare professional about taking medication or other methods of pain relief. It’s important to take medication regularly.
More about taking painkillers
It’s recommended you stay at or return to work as quickly as possible during your recovery. You don’t need to be pain and symptom-free to return to work.
Help and support
If your thigh problem hasn’t improved within 6 weeks of following this advice, it’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional about your symptoms.
Understanding the pain in your upper leg
Upper leg pain can be caused by various injuries. It could be caused by an injury to the thigh area or by referred pain.
Referred pain originates from a region other than the thigh, but can still cause pain in that area, while there might be nothing wrong with the thigh itself. Referred thigh pain is typically caused by an injury to the sacroiliac joint or lower back. Thigh injuries, whether it be local pain or referred pain, can be caused by an acute trauma or gradually build up over time.
Bone and joint related thigh pain
A fracture to the femur bone is a very rare cause of thigh pain. A fracture could happen after a high impact injury or with a pre-existing bone condition. An injury of the hip or knee joint can cause referred pain in the thigh region and can also increase tension and tenderness in the thigh muscles.
A joint injury could be caused by acute inflammation (arthritis), degenerative changes (osteoarthritis), a cartilage injury or a joint ligament strain or sprain. Often these injuries will also cause some swelling, which will be more obvious when it is knee related than when the hip joint is affected.
Muscle and tendon related thigh pain
The main muscle groups of your thigh are the quadriceps at the front, hamstring at the back and the adductors at this inside of the thigh. A strain occurs when the fibres in a muscle are stretched beyond their capability.
Depending on the force, this can lead to anything from a minor muscle strain to a full thickness muscle tear.
A strain or sprain to a thigh muscle will cause discomfort when trying to use that muscle. It is not uncommon to notice some swelling and/or bruising as well. Muscular thigh injuries most often are the result of a sports injury. Apart from this acute cause, thigh muscle injuries can also have a more gradual onset. For example, a poor posture can cause overloading of specific thigh muscles.
Tendon-related pain can happen to any thigh muscle. A tendon connects the muscle to the bone which means a tendon injury can happen on both ends of the muscle. The most common tendon injuries are adductor tendinopathy, rectus femoris tendinopathy and gluteal tendinopathy. The injury can be acute but very often slowly builds up over time and is aggravated by loading the tendon.
An increase in muscle tension could cause an increased pressure on a bursa: a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a muscles, tendons, and bones. An irritated bursa might develop into a bursitis, which is an inflammation of a bursa. A subtrochanteric bursitis is the most common one and will cause pain on the outside of the top of the thigh.
Nerve-related thigh pain
Reduced neural mobility in the femoral or sciatic nerve can also cause thigh pain. Muscles innervated by that nerve can increase in tension if the nerve is agitated. Problems with the nerve can also lead to the feeling of pins and needles or numbness in the leg.
Blood flow-related thigh pain
Vascular problems such as a deep venous thrombosis (blood clot), varicose veins or poor circulation can also lead to thigh pain. Blood clots and vascular disorders may require the care of your GP, who might refer you to a vascular specialist. Prompt medical attention is strongly recommended.
Physiotherapy treatment for upper leg pain
Your physiotherapist can help you to determine exactly where your pain is coming from to ensure optimal treatment. The treatment will differ a lot depending what structure is responsible for the symptoms that you are experiencing. The physiotherapist will also pay for essay offer you some great advice how to reduce your pain and what you can do yourself to speed up recovery.
A thigh injury can be caused by a variety of injuries but it is important to know what issue is responsible for your discomfort or pain to optimise treatment. A proper diagnosis is the key to success!
For an in-depth assessment from our team of experienced physiotherapist and to help you get you started living pain free, book online now.
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Hip and Thigh Pain? Here’s What to do for Bursitis – Cleveland Clinic
Do you tend to bump the car door shut with your hip? If so, don’t be surprised if your bursa complains.
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Bursae are small sacs of fluid cushioning your bones, tendons and muscles near joints. Acute injury, overuse or degenerative arthritis in your hip or back can lead to a common condition known as bursitis.
This painful inflammation of the bursa and surrounding tissue commonly targets your hip and its many bursae. Typically, the bursae cushioning the outward portion of your upper thigh bone are affected.
Odds are good that you do something that puts you at risk of developing bursitis. Gardening, raking, jogging, bicycling long distances, and playing tennis, golf or even a musical instrument can increase your odds of developing bursitis.
Middle-aged and elderly women are especially prone to it, too. Ditto for people with very physical jobs, such as carpenters and house painters.
The bottom line? “Trochanteric bursitis can affect anyone,” says rheumatologist Scott Burg, DO.
What bursitis feels like
Trochanteric bursitis brings warmth, swelling and pain to your outer thigh that can spread down to your knee. Walking intensifies the pain, limping is common and climbing steps can become difficult. Tenderness on the side you’re lying on may interfere with sleep.
“But everyone’s response to pain is unique,” notes Dr. Burg. “Some people feel minimal discomfort that annoys them, while others sense pain more intensely. That’s why some people don’t need much anesthetic when a tooth is pulled, while others need a truckload.”
Home treatment with rest, ice and anti-inflammatories can help. It’s also important to avoid any activities that cause pain, including excessive standing.
When to seek help
Most trochanteric bursitis resolves on its own after two weeks. If home treatment hasn’t relieved your discomfort after two weeks, it’s time to see a doctor. A specialist in orthopaedics, rheumatology or physical medicine and rehabilitation can help.
Your doctor may ask you questions like:
- Do you remember bumping your outer thigh or hip?
- When did the pain begin?
- Did you scrape your skin?
- Did you get a fever?
Sometimes, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. If that doesn’t help, your provider may inject steroids into the bursa to relieve the inflammation.
Injections aren’t for everyone
“Injections can bring long-lasting and sometimes permanent relief,” says Dr. Burg. “But they won’t be effective if you keep doing the work or activity that caused your bursitis in the first place. You have to eliminate the source of the problem.”
In the rare cases where trochanteric bursitis persists after 12 months of medical therapy, surgery can be considered.
But chances are, with proper care, your bursa will stop complaining long before that.
Pain in the Upper Thigh After Running
Properly warming up can prevent muscle strains and leg pain after running.
Image Credit: Julien McRoberts/Tetra images/GettyImages
Running has a lot of benefits like improved fitness and heart health, weight loss and maintenance, increased immune function and relief from stress and depression. But for all its positive aspects, it can also be hard on the body.
If your thighs hurt after running, you’re not alone. Thigh pain is a common complaint in runners, and it can be a stubborn problem to solve. Pinpointing the issue and the best treatment protocol will have you pounding the pavement again in no time.
Upper thigh pain after running is most commonly caused by muscle strains and overuse injuries.
Muscles of the Upper Thigh
A brief anatomy lesson will help you more accurately identify the cause of your upper thigh pain from running. The major muscles in your thigh are the quadriceps and the hamstrings. Both muscle groups originate at the pelvis.
The quadriceps on the front of your thigh are a group of four muscles including the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius. This group is responsible for extending your leg at the knee.
The hamstrings muscle group along the back of the thigh consists of three muscles: the semitendinosus, semi-membranous and the biceps femoris. These three muscles are involved in flexing the knee.
Another group of concern is the hip flexors. This is a group of smaller muscles located at the top of the thigh that cross the front of the hip. There are several hip flexor muscles, but the main four are the sartorius, rectus femoris, iliacus and psoas. The last two together are often referred to as the iliopsoas.
Causes of Upper Leg Pain After Running
Self-diagnosing your leg pain isn’t the best idea. There are many causes for leg pain, from simple overuse to underlying medical conditions that require medical treatment. If pain from running is chronic, or gets worse with time, a visit with your doctor can help you get to the bottom of your upper thigh pain.
In the meantime, a few of the most common causes of upper thigh pain in runners are:
Hip Flexor Strain. A hip flexor strain is an acute injury that occurs when the muscle fibers are overstretched, causing the muscle fibers to tear. Symptoms of a muscle strain can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on how much damage was done. Symptoms may include:
- Mild to severe pain at the time of injury and for a period of time following the injury
- Muscle weakness or loss of muscle function
A muscle strain that is not allowed to recover properly can continue to cause pain each time you run. Proper muscle strain treatment depends on the severity of the injury, but typically includes taking time off from running or other activities that put stress on the hip flexors and doing rehabilitation exercises and stretches.
Hip Flexor Tendinitis. Overuse is a major reason for hip flexor strain in runners. The repetitive motion of lifting the leg and flexing the hip with each footfall places a lot of stress on the hip flexors, potentially leading to inflammation. With an overuse injury, the pain comes on gradually and worsens over time.
Typically, you will feel pain not only after running, but also while you are running. The pain may be worse in the beginning of your run and feel better as your muscles warm up; however, it will usually return and worsen as you run farther. At the end of your run, the pain will stick around until the muscle inflammation subsides.
Quadriceps and Hamstrings Strain. As with the hip flexors, an acute injury can cause a strain in the quadriceps and hamstrings. Often, running too far or too fast before your body is ready can cause these injuries. Whether the pain is mild, moderate or severe, the muscles require a period of healing to fully recover before they can be subjected to their previous level of activity. Injuries that are not allowed to recover properly can cause recurring pain at the top of the thigh after running.
Other Possible Causes
There are many other reasons you might be having pain after running. Tight muscles elsewhere in the body — the lower back, for example — can pull on thigh muscles and lead to pain after running.
Hip bursitis can be another possible explanation. Bursa are small jelly-like sacs throughout the body positioned between muscle and bone for cushioning and to reduce friction. When the two large bursae of the hip become inflamed, they can cause pain at the hip point. However, this pain may extend to the outer thigh and across the hips.
A hernia can also cause pain in the groin and hip flexor. In this condition, an organ pushes through the muscle or tissue that functions to hold it in place. The lower abdomen is a common site for hernias and results in a small bulge on either side of the pelvis. Symptoms include a dull achiness that may worsen with activities such as running.
Read more: How to Stop Running Pain
Treatment for Upper Thigh Pain
Treatment for muscle injuries and chronic pain typically includes a reduction or cessation of the activity that is causing or contributing to the pain. This may mean taking time off from running or significantly reducing your mileage and pace.
Overuse injuries are often a result of poor body mechanics. In the case of running, you may have incorrect form or postural dysfunction that is contributing to the chronic pain. This may be due to muscular imbalances elsewhere in the body. Having an assessment with a physical therapist, especially one who specializes in working with runners, can help you determine the root of the problem and the best treatment.
Hip bursitis and hernia require a visit to your doctor, who will determine the cause and prescribe a plan of treatment. This may involve surgery, activity modification, anti-inflammatory medications, steroidal injections and physical therapy.
Preventing Future Injury
You can help reduce the impact of your current injury and prevent future injury by taking steps to improve strength and flexibility, as well as by properly warming up and stretching before and after your workouts.
Resistance training helps strengthens muscles and tendons and makes them less susceptible to strains and other injuries. It will also improve your running performance. Do exercises with weights or your own bodyweight two or three times a week that target all the major muscle groups.
Properly warm up your body before each run. Increasing your pace too quickly can increase the risk of injury to cold muscles. Start out slow for the first five to 10 minutes before picking up the pace.
Stretching keeps your muscles flexible and reduces the risk of strain. Before your run do some dynamic exercises, such as walking lunges and butt kicks, as part of your warm up. After your run, spend 10 minutes performing static stretches for your hip flexors, hamstrings and quadriceps. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds. Only stretch to the point of mild discomfort, never pain. try these dynamic and static stretches.
Allow for proper recovery between runs. Packing in a lot of miles each week will result in overuse injuries for many people. Don’t run every day, and take time off in between long and particularly strenuous runs. On your days off from running, you can cross-train with another activity that uses different movements and muscle groups such as swimming and cycling.
Schedule a few sessions with a knowledgeable running coach who can assess your form and help you fix any poor mechanics that could be causing your upper thigh pain after running.
Read more: How to Get Rid of Sore Muscles After Running
90,000 Leg pain: 13 diseases that cannot be ignored
25 June 2020 15:30
Photo: Photo: freepik.com
Not only the elderly, but also people of other age groups face the problem of leg pain. Such an unpleasant sensation can be associated with a rather serious illness and lead to serious consequences. Therefore, we recommend that you immediately contact an experienced specialist in order to correctly determine the diagnosis.
Surgeon Pēteris Gerke states that leg pain, swelling of the legs and feeling tired can be a signal of serious vein disease.
– Insufficiency of the valves that are located inside the veins, such anatomical formations that block the segments of the veins and contribute to the outflow of blood from the legs towards the heart upwards. Subsequently, the blood, like any liquid, flows down. And to prevent this from happening, you need these valves. If the valves begin to leak blood, that is, they do not close well, venous congestion appears and the veins begin to swell.This is one of the main reasons for the appearance of pain in the legs, says the specialist.
An incorrect and excessive load on the spinal column can lead to such a serious disease as lumbosacral osteochondrosis. In most cases, this leads to a sedentary lifestyle, heavy physical activity, spinal anomalies and poor posture.
The first signal of this disease is “shooting” pain in the legs, which increases with movement.Pain along the back or side of the leg from heel to buttock is a sign of sciatic nerve inflammation. To properly prescribe treatment, you need to seek help from a neurologist.
Consequences of fractures
After receiving a fracture of the limbs, regular pain in the legs may bother you. Most of the pain is felt when walking. To relieve leg pain, orthoses can be used to relieve stress on the limb.
With the development of arthrosis, joints are affected, but arthritis can cause complications for the whole body.There are a number of factors that can lead to these diseases. In particular, an infection in the body, a malfunction in the immune system and metabolic disorders.
So, with arthritis, joint pain occurs during movement and physical exertion. And with arthritis, pain constantly bothers, even if the person is resting. With arthrosis, the cartilaginous layer is destroyed and bone friction occurs, which leads to crunching. The range of motion in arthrosis decreases in a specific joint, with arthritis in the whole body.Arthritis can be accompanied by fever, weakness, eye inflammation, and psoriasis.
When the diagnosis is established, the specialist prescribes treatment in the form of anti-inflammatory drugs or physical procedures. Also, the doctor can prescribe the patient a diet, wearing special shoes and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Nodular enlargement of the saphenous veins, pain, heaviness in the legs, swelling of the foot and lower leg, fatigue in the legs by the end of the day are warning signs of a disease such as varicose veins of the lower extremities.The development of this ailment can be caused by a violation of blood flow, bad habits, heredity and many other factors.
Varicose veins are often prone to blood clots and infection. Most often, varicose nodes can be found on the inner surface of the legs or thighs.
The most effective method of treatment is venectomy. Medication and compression therapy in the treatment of varicose veins are used as auxiliary methods in surgical treatment.
This disease most often affects men aged 35-50 years, but the first symptoms may appear in 20-30 years. Endarteritis occurs due to insufficient supply of blood, and, consequently, oxygen and nutrients to the tissues of the leg, which causes severe compressive pain in the calf muscles, and when walking, a sick person often has to stop to rest. After a short rest, the pain goes away, but it comes back again.
Why this disease fetters a person, scientists have not yet understood, but it can occur as a result of protracted viral infections in people prone to allergies, smokers, those who work in hazardous industries.
With endarteritis, small arteries are damaged, and if it is not treated, then in one and a half to two years the patient can become disabled the disease progresses rapidly.
Often endarteritis begins with inflammation of the veins, which, as it were, wanders as soon as the inflammation disappears from one place, then immediately appears on another. The first “call” about the problem may be the rapid freezing of the feet in the cold.
The next stage is damage to the arteries, then there will be pain when walking, followed by it even at rest.Further, the patient’s fingers and nails turn black, atrophy and muscle wasting begins, trophic ulcers appear on the feet and heels.
Treat endarteritis with pain relievers, hormones, and drugs that improve blood flow. The sooner you see your doctor, the easier it will be to cure the disease.
With the development of this disease, the walls of the veins thicken and blood clots form. Most often this occurs against the background of varicose veins. Thrombophlebitis can provoke cancer, diseases of the blood, heart, infection, injury.The main manifestation is a feeling of heaviness and pain in the legs, often the legs swell, and the skin on the affected area turns red and inflamed, and possibly an increase in temperature.
Thrombophlebitis is treated by a phlebologist. He will prescribe ultrasound angioscanning, ultrasound scan of the veins of the lower extremities, rheovasography, as well as a set of drugs. Flat feet
With flat feet, the patient may experience pain in the feet and legs. Tellingly, it intensifies in the late afternoon. It is difficult for a person who suffers from flat feet to walk, he gets tired quickly.
How to relieve pain symptoms, orthopedic surgeon will tell you. These can be recommendations for choosing the right shoes, special exercises, baths.
Sudden muscle spasms can hint at a serious problem in the body.
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90,000 Pain in the groin radiates to the leg
Leg and groin pain
Pain in the groin area can be constantly disturbing or occur with certain movements, for example, when raising a leg, sudden movement, physical exertion or other acute pathology. Whatever the nature of the pain, you need to find out the cause of the disease.
Pathological conditions in which the groin area hurts
- problems with the spine ;
- injuries tendons and muscles in the groin and inner thigh;
- inflammation of the lymph nodes ;
- surgical pathology ;
- painful periods ;
- ectopic pregnancy is accompanied by severe pain in the lower abdomen, radiates to the woman’s buttock and lower back.
What diseases does the nature of groin pain and its location indicate?
Depending on the pathology, pain in the groin and groin folds are of a different nature and distribution.
Severe pain in the groin and folds
Hernia, urolithiasis, torsion of the ovarian cyst, malignant tumor, inflammation of the lymph node, inflammation of the ovary in men, acute adnexitis, etc. In case of acute pain, an urgent need to consult a doctor or call an ambulance.
In men – varicocele, inguinal hernia, prostate cancer, cyst of the spermatic cord, cystitis, prostate cancer, musculoskeletal problems, in women – pelvic inflammation, cystitis, musculoskeletal problems (plus pain in the inner thigh).
Shooting pain radiates to the legs to the knees
Shooting pain in the groin radiates to the leg and buttocks can talk about problems with the spine in the lumbosacral region, pinched nerve.If the pain in the groin region radiates to the lower back and to the hips to the knees, it may be osteochondrosis with radicular syndrome.
It hurts on the right side
Inguinal hernia (occurs due to weak abdominal muscles, often comes out on the right side), kidney stones, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, parametritis, adnexitis, spinal osteochondrosis (when the nerves leading to the groin are squeezed).
Groin area hurts on the left side
Inguinal hernia, neoplasms, syphilis, inflammatory diseases of the rectum are characterized by pain on the left side.To accurately determine the diagnosis, you need to study all the symptoms. Therefore, if you have pain in the groin area, you need to visit a doctor.
90,000 Why and what to do with your legs after running
Pain in your legs after running can occur for a number of reasons. Here are just a few of the running injuries you’ve heard of: periosteal inflammation, stress fracture, runner’s knee, Achilles tendonitis, calluses. Injured runners are not uncommon: the vast majority of athletes are injured at some point in their running.
Why do legs hurt after running, what are the causes of injuries and how to prevent them, we will tell in this article.
Causes of leg pain after running
Delayed pain is often the main cause of leg pain after running. Such pain will definitely not bypass the person who took the first run, and the runner who did something very unusual for the legs, for example, a long run down the mountain.
Muscle pain usually begins the day after activity and peaks 24 to 48 hours later, subsiding over the next few days.The cause of the pain is simple and straightforward: Unusual exercise creates small tears in muscle tissue.
This induces a normal inflammatory response in which fluid builds up outside the muscle cells and tissue pressure gradually rises. This pressure soon reaches a level that stimulates the nerve endings, and the pain becomes palpable. It continues to grow for about 48 hours, after which the damaged tissue heals and the pain subsides.
To avoid delayed pain, cool down by jogging and walking and stretching after exercise.It should be said that these actions will not necessarily prevent pain if severe muscle damage occurs.
What about other injuries? Why do they arise? In the overwhelming majority, they happen from excessive load on the legs – just like that. To the load, which the tissues cannot cope with, they react with an inflammatory process.
Other causes of running injuries:
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- Incorrect running technique.
- The load is higher than what the body can digest today. The slower you increase your weekly mileage and intensity, the less likely you are to get injured.
- Insufficient recovery and malnutrition.
- Lack of warm-up before doing work workout.
- Unsuitable running shoes or improper running shoes.
- Individual features of the structure of the foot (flat feet, excessive pronation, and others).
- Running on hard surfaces.
- Uneven distribution of the vertical load on the musculoskeletal system due to strong body asymmetry;
- Muscle imbalance due to lack of strength and general physical training.
Major Runner Injuries
Fatigue (stress) fracture
A source of bone pain is a stress fracture of a bone due to repetitive shock loading. Bone reacts to stress by becoming stronger, but if this stress is brought to an excessive level, micro cracks and micro tears appear in the bone.These repetitive microfractures result in a stress fracture.
The athlete feels pain while running, and sometimes even while walking. With continued exposure to the bone, a fatigue fracture results in a complete bone fracture. Stress fractures in runners tend to occur in the lower part of the fibula and in the upper and lower parts of the tibia.
They can also, although less frequently, occur in the anterior part of the lower leg. Read more about trauma, treatment and prevention in a separate article: Fatigue fracture: symptoms, prevention, treatment.
Inflammation of the periosteum (shinsplit) is one of the most common injuries for runners. Shinsplit is characterized by severe or sharp pain, dull throbbing when running or even at rest. The area of pain is along the inner or outer edge of the lower leg.
Fortunately, lower leg injuries are often easily and quickly treated.
It is enough to leave running for a while, switch to unstressed cardio training, do stretching exercises and strengthen the stabilizing muscles of the foot with unstressed load.
Although this is not a serious injury, it will not be possible to “run over” it, because inflammation of the periosteum, if ignored, can lead to more serious pathologies of the tibia.
The biomechanics of trauma and its treatment can be read in detail in the article: Inflammation of the periosteum: how to treat it and how not to get it.
Bursitis of the hip joint
Bursitis of the hip joint is accompanied by inflammatory changes in the joint cavities, which are responsible for the processes of lubrication and sliding when interacting with rubbing bone elements.The synovial periarticular bag, where inflammatory processes occur, plays the role of a “shock absorber”, that is, it reduces friction between the bones and the soft tissues covering them.
With this injury, the pain is localized on the outside of the thigh. She can deceive the runner by the fact that at first its manifestations are strong, but as the pathological inflammation spreads, it dulls.
When bursitis is detected, the doctor will recommend limiting physical activity, which increases pain, and will prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to the patient.It may also require a single injection of the drug into the damaged synovial bag.
Read also: Why joints hurt after running
Runner’s knee is the popular name for a number of diseases in the knee joint. Most often, this term refers to patellofemoral pain syndrome, as well as patellar tendinitis and iliotibial tract friction syndrome.
In patellofemoral syndrome, pain covers the patella and the area under it.The pain is usually felt when climbing stairs, after sitting for a long time, or after jogging.
With tendinitis of the patellar ligament, the ligament suffers, which plays an important role in straightening the leg. In other words, this ligament becomes inflamed and runners feel pain in the lower patella area. At first, this pain is felt after the load, but as the injury progresses, the ligament gives painful signals even before the load.
With the syndrome of friction of the iliotibial tract, softening of the cartilaginous tissue occurs, which is fraught with gradual deformation of the whole joint.The area of pain is the outer surface of the knee joint. This is usually severe pain, so the athlete cannot continue.
For the treatment and prevention of knee pain, many people use kinesio taping, but here it is important that the application is selected by the doctor. It is a big mistake to take anti-inflammatory drugs and keep running without adjusting your schedule and load.
Podcast and related article: Why knees hurt after running
A sprain or rupture of the ligaments surrounding the ankle occurs when the leg is rotated inward.After all, has it happened to you when running over rough terrain? This may not always lead to sprains, and if it does, the trauma can be diagnosed by the presence of edema, pain on palpation, most pronounced in the front of the ankle.
Treatment is successfully carried out independently: application of ice, compression, rest, elevated position of the limb.
To avoid injury, always warm up well, wear sized shoes, and do not ignore exercises to strengthen the muscles around the ankle.
In this injury, inflammation spreads to the tissues of the lower part of the foot, which extends from the heel to the toes. Bad shoes and high uphill running can cause inflammation. People with clogged calf muscles and a high arch of the foot are more prone to plantar fasciitis.
During the treatment of plantar fasciitis, you should not warm your feet, but you should apply ice and massage. However, we strongly recommend that you immediately contact an orthopedic traumatologist if you suspect fasciitis.This injury does not recede for so long, and if you tighten it, you can bring the leg to surgery.
This injury is sometimes confused with plantar fasciitis, considered one and the same, but “spur”, or even osteophyte, is a bony growth that occurs due to plantar fasciitis. This overgrowth of bone tissue in runners is due to longitudinal flat feet, excess weight, or prolonged overload of the heels.
The osteophyte is characterized by severe and sharp pain when walking, it cannot be ignored, but self-medication will not help here in any way! Athletes, trying to avoid pain, try not to step on a sore heel, which changes gait, and body weight is not distributed correctly.The overloaded outer edge of the foot leads to the formation of transverse flat feet.
Treatment of calcaneal osteophyte can be both medication and using laser and X-ray therapy.
See also: Why do feet hurt when running
Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the Achilles tendon that connects the lower leg to the heel bone. Of course, the inflammation is caused by repetitive stress on the tendons and sudden increases in hill running and speed training.In addition, going from training shoes to racing shoes without wearing the latter for a long time can also lead to injury.
Treatment of tendonitis includes applying ice for 15 to 20 minutes three to four times a day, adjusting workouts and fitting shoes. It is also recommended to stretch the Achilles tendon after you have done a light jogging warm-up. As the flexibility of the tendon improves, you should start strengthening it.
The simplest and most accessible exercise: stand on a step or other hill, and then lower and raise your heels.
Long-term problems with the Achilles tendon can cause degenerative changes known as tendinosis, a condition characterized by inflammation in and around the muscle ligaments. This disease is dangerous by the separation of the affected tendons from the place of attachment to the bone. For treatment, surgery may be the last resort.
Treatment and prevention of leg pain after running
We could describe this section in three words: see a doctor.While there is, of course, no substitute for a highly trained physician or physical therapist, some problems can be resolved on your own.
If leg pain persists within 2 days, stop running. Nothing will happen to physical fitness even from a five-day rest, but if you experience discomfort due to lack of movement, there are many activities that can replace running during the recovery period. When replacing running with something else, first of all, avoid exercises that cause pain.
Special exercises to strengthen the feet and legs are a recognized method of injury prevention. Such exercises can be done at home: they do not require equipment and a lot of time.
For the treatment of injuries already received, cooling compresses or compresses with a special gel or ointment are used. What drugs to use will be indicated by your injury.
Do not keep ice on the injury site for more than 20 minutes, otherwise you risk freezing the tissue. However, 10 minutes of cooling is not enough.Aim for 15-20 minutes. The effect will appear if you apply ice 4-5 times a day with a minimum 45-minute break in between.
If you continue to run with a minor injury, take care to take the load off the damaged area. This is facilitated by wearing compression clothing, in particular, golf, taping. Tapes provide support for muscles and joints, and compression garments improve blood flow and circulation, thereby limiting leg swelling.
Medication should be used with caution in most injuries.Short-term use, five to seven days, of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve pain, but remember that they have contraindications: gastrointestinal, liver or kidney problems.
In the case when self-treatment does not help you get rid of the injury within 10-14 days, then you cannot do without the help of a specialist.
Read on: How to replace running: 13 workout alternatives