Inner Thigh Pain: Causes, Symptoms and Effective Treatments

Inner Thigh Pain - Causes, Symptoms and What to Do
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Inner thigh pain can cause a lot of discomfort anywhere on the inside of your leg from your groin area in the upper inner thigh to your knee. Depending on the reasons for having a sore inner thigh, the pain may be sharp and stabbing or it could be a constant dull ache. Sometimes the pain can radiate from other parts of the body to the inner thigh making it uncomfortable to go about your daily activities.

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The sensation of pain in your pelvic region and inside your thigh can be caused by a pulled or strained muscle, a hernia, osteoarthritis, or even kidney stones. Many pregnant women experience pain in their inner thigh near their groin. Usually, getting rid of the pain involves treating or managing any underlying condition. However, in cases that your inner thigh pain is muscular, getting plenty of rest usually is enough to help ease the pain and relieve any discomfort.

In this article, we will explore the various reasons why you have pain in your inner thigh. You will also find out what you can do about a sore inner thigh and when it is serious enough to see your doctor.

Causes of Inner Thigh Pain

Here are some of the various reasons why your inner thigh hurts:

Muscular problems (Groin Strain)

Pulling a muscle in your groin will cause inner thigh pain and difficulties when it comes to walking. A groin strain can happen when the muscles on your inner leg get over-stretched or torn. This can result in mild to severe pain along the inside of the upper thigh, especially in the area where your inner thigh meets your pelvic bone. You can also have swelling, and discomfort when walking. Depending on the type of muscle injury you could also have pain around your lower inner thigh and not just the upper inner thigh.

Expert in sports medicine, Dr. Ross Brakeville says that the severity of groin strains can be divided into 3 categories:1

  • 1st-degree pain. This will cause mild pain and you shouldn’t have any loss of movement.
  • 2nd-degree pain. This can cause moderate pain and could be a result of a tissue damage and bruising in your inner thigh.
  • 3rd-degree inner thigh pain. You will have severe pain and loss of strength in your leg if the leg muscle is completely torn.

It’s important that you allow enough time for the groin strain to completely heal. According to Dr. Brakeville, it can take from 4 to 6 weeks for a groin strain to heal completely until you no longer have any pain in the affected inner thigh.

At the end of the article, you can find out how to treat inner thigh pain that is caused by a pulled muscle.

Hip impingement

A deformity in the ball socket of your hip bone can cause stiffness and pain in your groin and inner thigh. This condition is called hip impingement or femoroacetabular impingement (FAI).

According to Dr. William Blahd on WebMD, many people have hip impingement without showing any symptoms. However, as the condition progresses, you may feel pain when moving your hip, when sitting for a long time, or have upper inner thigh pain when walking.2

Doctors from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons say that there are some simple home remedies that can help relieve the inner thigh pain. Usually, resting from activities that caused the pain is enough for it to settle down.3 Dr. Blahd also recommends exercising to strengthen the hip muscle to help prevent pain in your inner thigh. To strengthen you inner thighs you can try these exercises which include detailed illustrations.

Inguinal hernia

The pain in your inner thigh could be caused by an inguinal hernia. An inguinal hernia occurs when part of the intestines pushes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles.

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According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, an inguinal hernia can cause a bulge on either side of your pubic bone. You will usually feel pain in your groin when coughing or lifting heavy items. You may also feel a heavy sensation and pressure in your groin.4

It’s important to see your doctor if you think that your inner thigh pain is caused by an inguinal hernia. This is especially true if you have sudden, sharp pain in your groin, difficulty having bowel movements, or you notice the bulge in your groin turns red or purple.

Osteoarthritis

One reason for having a sore inner thigh is osteoarthritis which can cause sharp severe pains in the affected joints. Osteoarthritis in the hip will also cause your inner thigh to hurt when walking, engaging in physical activity such as running, or even while resting. Sometimes, the pain can just flare up suddenly, accompanied by stiffness and discomfort in the groin.

Doctors from the University of Washington say that osteoarthritis of the hip is a serious condition. It occurs when cartilage surface in the joint wears away causing inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Pain is usually felt in the groin thigh or buttock.5

To get rid of arthritis pain in your upper inner thigh near your groin, you can try some of the pain relief methods mentioned at the end of the article. Sometimes, losing excess weight, exercising, and resting the affected leg can help to manage the pain at the top of your legs.

You can also try supplementing your diet with turmeric to relieve osteoarthritis inner thigh pain. Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory compounds that can help to prevent joint pain. For more information, please read my article on the best herbs to relieve joint pain. You can also try some of these essential oils to relieve pain and inflammation, or try this anti inflammatory turmeric ginger tea.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones can cause excruciating pain in your back that can radiate to your inner thigh. Usually, the pain comes and goes as the kidney stone moves in the urinary tract.

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Kidney stones form when minerals, for example, calcium, build up in the kidneys. According to Cedars-Sinai hospital, kidney stones can make a person feel severe pain in the inner thigh and genital region. Stones in the bladder could also be a reason for pain in the groin.6

There are many natural remedies that can treat the symptoms of kidney stones and dissolve the mineral deposits. For example, the acidic nature of apple cider vinegar can help to get rid of kidney stones and reduce the pain they cause. In fact, research has shown that acetic acid (which, apple cider vinegar contains high levels of) can dissolve mineral buildups in the kidneys.7

Inner thigh pain during pregnancy

Pregnancy can also cause inner thigh pain that can make it difficult to get around. This kind of pain in the pelvic region is caused by stiffness in the pelvic joints. It is thought that the weight and position of the baby can affect the pelvic joints and cause discomfort.

Doctors from the National Health Service in the United Kingdom say that the pelvic pain can radiate to your thighs and may be worse when walking upstairs, turning over in bed, and standing on one leg when getting dressed.8

To help relieve the pain in your upper inner thigh and pelvic region when pregnant, doctors recommend exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor, and abdominal area, for example Kegel exercises. Also, pelvic support belts may provide some pain relief.

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How to Treat Inner Thigh Pain

Treating inner thigh pain depends on the reason for the pain and its severity. In general, pain in your inner thigh can be relieved by using cold therapy and compression to help injuries heal quicker and support hip movement.

If your upper inner thigh hurts because of a groin strain or pulled muscle you can use the P.R.I.C.E. principle for pain relief. The website SportsMD recommends the P.R.I.C.E. principle for injury to ligaments and muscles.9 This is how to use it:

  • Protection. It’s important to protect your groin area from further injury and damage by using a groin support wrap. This can involve strapping your groin with a bandage around the inside of your thigh and then around your back.
  • Rest. You need to rest the affected leg to prevent swelling and further damage to the tissue. You could use crutches or a cane to keep weight off the injured thigh muscle.
  • Ice. Applying an ice pack to the inner thigh immediately after a muscle pull can help to prevent internal bleeding and swelling and accelerate healing.
  • Compression. You should wrap the groin area with an elastic bandage to help reduce pain and prevent swelling.
  • Elevation. As much as possible, you should keep your affected leg elevated about the level of your heart. This will help prevent further swelling from occurring.

You can also use the P.R.I.C.E. method to alleviate inner thigh pain that is caused by osteoarthritis, an inguinal hernia, or hip impingement.

How to Prevent Inner Thigh Pain

In some cases, there are various ways to prevent pain in your upper and lower inner thigh. Of course, if you have a degenerative condition like osteoarthritis or hip impingement, you will have to find ways to manage the pain.

However, in most cases of inner thigh pain, regular exercising can help to strengthen the stomach, back, and hip muscles. However, to avoid groin strain when exercising, Dr. William Blahd on WebMD recommends the following:10

  • Warm up the groin muscle by stretching before exercising. Stretching can also increase joint movement and reduce pain and stiffness.
  • Gradually increase the intensity of exercise to prevent injury.
  • Use proper equipment and footwear when exercising.
  • Make sure and drink plenty of fluids to prevent muscle pain and stiffness.
  • Don’t lift heavy objects by yourself to avoid pulling a muscle or developing an inguinal hernia.

Read my other related articles:

Article Sources

  1. WebMD. Groin pull.
  2. WebMD. Hip impingement.
  3. OrthoInfo. Femoroacetabular impingement.
  4. MayoClinic. Inguinal hernia.
  5. Orthop. Osteoarthritis of the hip.
  6. CedarsSinai. Kidney stones.
  7. J Mass Spectrom. 2011 Mar;46(3):313-9.
  8. NHS. Pelvic pain in pregnancy.
  9. SportsMD. Acute sports injury treatment using the P.R.I.C.E. principle.
  10. WebMD. Groin problems and injuries – prevention.
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