Thigh pain is a common problem that many people experience. It may come on suddenly or gradually, and it can cause you to have difficulty with normal functional mobility like walking, running, or climbing stairs. Sometimes thigh pain can occur after trauma or an injury, and other times it may come on for no apparent reason.
Anatomically, your thigh is the area of your upper leg between your hip joint and your knee. Your quadriceps muscles reside in the front of your thigh and serve to bend your hip up and straighten your knee. Your hamstrings are in the back; these muscles help to bend your knee. Groin muscles on the inner aspect of your thigh pull your leg in, while your hip muscles, like the gluteus medius, pull your thigh out to the side. Several nerves travel down your thighs.
Thigh pain can range from a mild ache to a sharp shooting sensation. It may also be accompanied by other symptoms including:
• Difficulty walking
• Burning sensation
When pain comes on suddenly, there’s no apparent cause, or it doesn’t respond to home treatments, such as ice, heat, and rest, you should seek medical treatment.
Causes of Thigh pain
Caused by pressure on the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, meralgia paresthetica (MP) may cause tingling, numbness, and a burning pain in the outer part of your thigh.
Common Causes Of Meralgia Paresthetica Include:
• Tight clothing
• Being overweight or obese
• Scar tissue from a past injury or surgery
• Diabetes-related nerve injury
• Carrying a wallet or cell phone in the front and side pockets of pants
Treatment involves identifying the underlying cause, then taking measures such as wearing looser clothing or losing weight to alleviate pressure. Exercises that reduce muscle tension and improve flexibility and strength may also help alleviate pain. Also using home remedies such as Ice, heat. Prescription medications and surgery may be recommended in some cases. If pain continues for 24hours or more then take injection.
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 and 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.
• When going upstairs, reduce the strain on your thigh by leading with your good leg. If there's a handrail, use it.
• When going downstairs, reduce the strain on your thigh by leading with your problem leg - if there's a handrail, use it.
Avoid sports or heavy lifting until you have less discomfort and good movement. Remember to warm up fully before you start sporting activities.
Dr R Madhan Kumar, MBBS, MD is a Senior Consultant, Pain Management – Gleneagles Global Health City, Chennai