Thigh & Groin Pain

A lack of control or stability in the pelvis, together with weakened muscles in the legs and lower back, can all predispose you to hip and groin problems. The hip and groin muscles will attempt to compensate for this lack of stability and muscle strength elsewhere in the body. Over time, this will lead to pain and undue pressure on joints, muscles, and tendons in the hip and groin area.

Thigh Pain

Meralgia paresthetica (MP)

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. It typically occurs on one side of the body and is caused by compression of the nerve.

Common causes of meralgia paresthetica include:

  • tight clothing
  • being overweight or obese
  • pregnancy
  • 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
  • hypothyroidism
  • lead poisoning

Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS)

Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS) can cause pain in the outside of your upper thighs. It is typically caused by injury, pressure, or repetitive movements.

Symptoms may include:

  • pain worsening when lying on the affected side
  • pain that worsens over time
  • pain following weight-bearing activities, such as walking or running
  • hip muscle weakness

Groin Strain

A groin strain is an injury or tear to any of the adductor muscles of the thigh. These are the muscles on the inner side of the thigh. Sudden movements usually trigger an acute groin strain, such as kicking, twisting to change direction while running, or jumping. Athletes are most at risk for this injury.

Typically, strains can be treated with ice, heat, and anti-inflammatory medications. More severe strains or tears may require treatment by a doctor.

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS)

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is a chronic overuse syndrome of the connective issues that are located on the outer thigh and knee.

The iliotibial band runs along the lateral or outside aspect of the thigh, from the pelvis to the tibia, crossing both the hip and knee joints. The iliotibial band is an important stabiliser structure of the lateral part of the knee as the joint flexes and extends.

Symptoms include pain and swelling, which is typically felt around the knees, but it can also be felt sometimes in the thigh.

Hip Flexor Tendinopathy

Hip flexor pain may develop gradually or appear following a trauma, such as a fall. Many people with hip flexor pain report one or more of the following:

  • Constant aching pain or discomfort in the groin or hip, even when sitting.
  • Decreased range of motion that is especially noticeable when kicking, lunging, running, and bending.
  • Tenderness, swelling, and bruising in the upper leg or groin; the affected area may hurt when pressed.
  • Muscle spasms and/or cramping in the hip or thigh that are painful and affect movement.
  • Weakness in the groin region that may make certain activities, such as kicking, difficult or impossible.
  • Change in gait, because of pain, decreased range of motion, and other factors affect walking.

Hip flexor pain may develop because of:

  • A tear or strain caused by a hip flexor moving beyond its normal range of motion.
  • Chronic irritation of the hip flexor tendons.
  • Problems in the hip joint, such as hip impingement.

Femoroacetabular impingement in the hip

Femoroacetabular impingement occurs when the bones of the hip develop abnormally.

Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)

Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) is a condition that causes excessive movement of the pubic symphysis, either anterior or lateral, as well as associated pain, possibly because of a misalignment of the pelvis. It usually occurs during pregnancy, when your pelvic joints become stiff or move unevenly. SPD is sometimes referred to as pelvic girdle pain.

Athletic pubalgia (Sports Hernia)

Athletic pubalgia (sports hernia) is a syndrome characterised by chronic groin pain in athletes and a dilated superficial ring of the inguinal canal.

Symptoms include pain during sports movements, particularly hip extension, and twisting and turning. This pain usually radiates to the adductor muscle region and even the testicles, although it is often difficult for the patient to pin-point the exact location.

Following sporting activity the person with athletic pubalgia will be stiff and sore. The day after a match, getting out of bed or a car will be difficult. Any exertion that increases intra-abdominal pressure, such as coughing, sneezing, or sporting activity can cause pain.

Referred Pain

Groin pain can also originate in areas other than the groin, such as the leg. This is known as radiating or referred pain.

Train the muscles and your mobility around the hip and groin area

  • Keep the hip joint and the muscles active to avoid stiffness and poor circulation.
  • Perform exercises that will help increase mobility, improve balance, and increase stability in the pelvic area.