Inner Thigh Pain: Possible Causes and Treatments

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inner thigh pain
Credit: iStock.com/Marc Bruxelle

Inner thigh pain can be the indicator of an underlying health condition such as kidney stones, tearing of muscle tissue, a hernia, or even a form of arthritis. Pain in the inner thigh may radiate anywhere between the groin area and the knee. It may present as a groin strain, a dull ache, or a stabbing, sharp pain along the thigh region. Identifying the cause is the first step in knowing how to relieve inner thigh pain.

The type and intensity of the inner thigh pain can vary even among individuals with a similar diagnosis. It may last for a few brief moments, or a constant dull or sharp ache may worsen with movement or while at rest. These details are important in narrowing down the cause.

 

What Causes Pain in Inner Thigh?

Inner thigh pain causes are often linked to muscle issues from strains, compression, abnormalities within the bone and joint structures, and growths. Identifying the underlying cause of the inner thigh pain leads to quick and proper treatment.

1. Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia is the most commonly experienced of all hernias. A hernia refers to the condition of tissues or an internal organ pushing through an area of weak muscles. In this case, part of the intestines or surrounding tissues protrudes through the abdominal muscle wall, forming a bulge in the groin area.

Inner thigh pain occurs when painful pressure is felt in the groin area. An inguinal hernia may develop with weak muscles caused by heavy lifting, the presence of abdominal fluid, pregnancy, extra weight, chronic coughing, or from development within the womb.

2. Pregnancy

Inner thigh pain during pregnancy may be referred to as the condition known as symphysis pubis dysfunction, or SPD. Pain, stiffness, and mobility difficulty may be due to the position and pressure of the weight of the baby.

Increased movement or pressure on the inner thigh may worsen the pain with standing, walking, climbing stairs, or while laying down on one side.

3. Muscle Issues

The muscles of the pelvic region and inner thighs can become strained and pulled with a sudden turn or over time with excessive use. A tear or stretch in the groin may cause a burning pain in the thigh region.

As with most muscular strains, pains of the inner thigh can fall under the three main pain categories.

  • First degree: This type is characterized by mild pain with no immobility.
  • Second degree: This may produce moderate pain with possible damage to tissues and bruising.
  • Third degree: This causes severe pain with possible mobility issues due to weak muscles.

4. Hip Impingement

Inner thigh pain with hip impingement is often caused by the abnormal shaping of the bone or hip ball socket. Also referred to as femoroacetabular impingement, this condition forces friction between the bones.

Hip movement such as sitting, walking, or other flexible movement may present mild to severe pain over time as the rubbing of the bones damages the joint. This pain, along with stiffness, can hinder easy flowing movement of the pelvic region and the legs.

5. Kidney Stones

Intense and severe back pain is usually associated with the formation of kidney stones. This pain may radiate to the inner thigh in spasmodic episodes that come and go.

Kidney stones are salt and mineral sediments of uric acid, oxalate, and calcium that crystallize and form when levels are higher than the fluid volume required to flush them out in the urine.

6. Osteoarthritis

Over time, the cartilage of the joints can wear thin, and the protection of the joint becomes weakened. This can cause sharp, stabbing inner thigh pain when walking and at rest, along with stiffness and mobility issues.

Osteoarthritis may be caused by the natural aging process, obesity, genetics, injuries, or health conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes.

7. Osteosarcoma

Severe inner thigh pain may also be present with the malignant disease osteosarcoma. This type of cancer forms a tumor within the bones of the thigh, shin, or arm, and is commonly seen among young people.

In addition to the pain, mobility issues, redness, and swelling may also be experienced with osteosarcoma.

8. Other Causes

Inner thigh muscle pain may also be caused by other health conditions and disorders such as edema. This condition sees inflammation of skin tissues due to excess fluid buildup.

Lipoma, an expansion of fat cells joining the skin to the muscle tissue, may also cause inner thigh pain, as does the inflammation of joints in septic arthritis, caused by a bacterium.

Mild to severe inner thigh pain may also be a result of a surgical procedure.

 

How to Treat Pain in Inner Thigh?

Inner thigh pain treatment may focus on the underlying cause while alleviating the sensation and other symptoms that accompany the pain.

1. Inguinal Hernia

A case of inguinal hernia may require one of two types of surgery. Before either surgery, patients are advised not to perform exercise or strenuous activities.

  • An open hernia repair consists of physically returning the hernia to the stomach and reinforcing the weak abdominal region with a nylon mesh. This will also promote healing of the damaged wall as new tissue is formed.
  • With a laparoscopic repair, damage to the abdominal wall from the hernia is treated with nylon mesh, much like with the open hernia repair. A laparoscope is used to view and repair the internal damage.

2. Pregnancy

The common problem of inner thigh pain during pregnancy is treated with preventative measures and pelvic floor-strengthening exercises.

  • Use a cold compress on the inner thighs for 15-minute treatments.
  • Regularly perform pelvic floor exercises in conjunction with stomach and hip exercises recommended by the doctor.
  • Remain active while limiting strenuous activities.
  • Lie on the side with a pillow between the knees and legs bent during rest.
  • Walk stairs one step at a time and place weight on the leg not afflicted with pain.
  • Support the lower back with a firm pillow or roller when sitting.
  • Rotate the legs together for movements such as entering and exiting a vehicle to avoid placing extra weight on the painful leg.

3. Muscular Pain

  • Inner thigh pain relief from a muscule sprain or strain can be achieved by first stopping the present activity.
  • Elevate the affected leg to a level above the heart for the next 24 hours.
  • Reduce swelling and any inflammation by applying a cold compress or ice pack for a 20-minute treatment. During this time, massage the leg with the cold item for 10 minutes. Continue this for up to four times over a two- to three-day period.
  • In between the ice pack applications, wrap the affected area with an elastic support bandage or compression stocking to apply pressure and alleviate pain.
  • Once pain and swelling are gone, stretch the groin area by sitting with the soles of the feet facing each other. Hold onto the ankles and slowly lean down to have the knees touch the floor.
  • Restore muscle strength by maintaining a healthy diet of protein with fish, lean meats, poultry, eggs, cheese, and milk products.

4. Kidney Stones

Kidney stones can vary in size, which will present inner thigh pain that may be mild or severe. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to flush out small kidney stones, which, in turn, will eliminate the pain.

Larger stones can cause severe pain in the inner thighs and may require medical intervention.

  • Medications may be used to reduce the kidney stones for easy elimination, as well as for severe pain episodes.
  • Lithotripsy and ureteroscopy procedures break down the stones for easier passing in the urine.
  • The kidney stones may require surgical removal via nephrostolithotomy, ureteroscopy, or open surgery.
  • Any hospitalization for invasive procedures may also include intravenous therapy to prevent dehydration, which may also cause pain.

5. Osteoarthritis

Inner thigh pain associated with osteoarthritis can only be managed, as there is currently no cure for the condition.

  • Use natural herbal remedies of ginger, green tea, and turmeric to help reduce inflammation that causes the osteoarthritis pain in the inner thighs.
  • Perform low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking, and yoga to manage pain and prevent further joint damage with high-impact exercises.
  • Maintain a healthy weight as extra body weight can apply pressure and cause pain.
  • Extreme pain cases may require corticosteroid injections or surgery to replace the affected joint.

6. Osteosarcoma

Treatment for inner thigh pain from osteosarcoma focuses on treating the cancer itself. This may be done by reducing the tumor with chemotherapy and radiation. Once the tumor is reduced, surgery is done to remove it and the surrounding tissue.

 

Pain in Inner Thigh Prevention Tips

Cases of pain in the inner thigh caused by muscular conditions, movement, and exercise may be prevented by taking several precautions.

  • Stretch the groin muscles before exercise routines, walking, running, or jogging to promote joint movement and prevent stiff muscles.
  • Slowly build up intensity during any form of exercise workout.
  • Wear proper footwear for specific activities, such as hiking boots and sneakers.
  • Use protective equipment for sports activities.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water daily to maintain healthy muscles.
  • Use proper safety techniques or equipment when lifting or carrying heavy items.

Pain in inner thigh may suddenly appear as a dull aching sensation that periodically comes and goes, or it may present as an excruciating, sharp pain that never goes away.

The intensity, timing, and duration of the pain may help indicate the source or cause. Inner thigh pain is often seen with muscle, cartilage, or tissue damage, or with the development of a growth or stone.

While health conditions causing the pain in inner thigh may require medical attention, the pain may also be addressed with natural home remedies. Some cases of inner thigh pain may be prevented with a few lifestyle changes.

Related Articles:

Cysts on Inner Thigh: Causes and Home Remedies

Treatments and Causes of Hip Pain after Running


Sources:
Hills, J., “Inner Thigh Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Effective Treatments,” Healthy and Natural World; http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/inner-thigh-pain/, last accessed September 21, 2017.
“Pain in Inner Thigh,” EnkiVeryWell; https://www.enkiverywell.com/pain-in-inner-thigh.html, last accessed September 21, 2017.
“Open hernia surgery: A guide to Hernias,” Medic8; http://www.medic8.com/healthguide/hernias/open-hernia-surgery.html, last accessed September 21, 2017.
“Laparoscopic Surgery for Hernia Repair,” Cleveland Clinic; https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/laparoscopic-surgery-for-hernia-repair, last accessed September 21, 2017.
“Kidney Stones,” Health Communities, September 22, 2015; http://www.healthcommunities.com/kidney-stones/treatment-surg.shtml, last accessed September 21, 2017.
“Pelvic Pains in Pregnancy,” Baby Centre UK, July 2015; https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a546492/pelvic-pain-in-pregnancy-spd, last accessed September 21, 2017.

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