Many people, especially athletes, experience pain in their outer thigh. This outer thigh pain is mostly a symptom of an injury or certain underlying medical conditions. Read on to know what can cause pain on the outside of the thigh & how to get rid of it.
About Pain on the Outer Side of the Thigh?
Pain on the outer side of the thigh is a symptom of various medical conditions, and mainly occurs due to nerve problems. Thigh pain can surface as anterior, posterior or a lateral thigh pain. An individual can experience Pain on the outer side of the thigh while climbing, walking, and excessive standing, which causes discomfort and keeps the person away from participating in different activities. Medical attention is necessary for accurately diagnosing the cause of the Pain on the outer side of the thigh and determining the appropriate treatment. Outer thigh pain commonly affects women more than men. People aged above 50 years often suffer from outer thigh pain. However, young people, especially runners, also get this pain in the outer thigh.
What Causes Pain on the Outer Side of the Thigh?
Pain on the outer side of the thigh can be caused to numerous factors and conditions like:
Meralgia paresthetica or burning feet sensation, can lead to pain on the outer side of the thigh. It occurs when the lateral nerve gets compressed due to trauma resulting from surgery. It also causes burning and tingling sensation in the upper region of the thigh.
Muscle-related injuries are also a common reason for pain in the outer thigh. A muscle strain occurs quickly if the leg muscles are overstretched or the pain develops over time due to weakness or overuse. Muscle strain typically causes outer thigh pain, which aggravates when standing on the affected leg.
Trochanteric Bursitis: The trochanteric bursa is a tiny fluid-filled sac which serves both as a lubricant and a cushion between the iliotibial (IT) band and the femur bone. A problem with the bursa sacs present between muscles in the groin, hip, and thigh region due to prolonged pressure, rapid joint movements or repeated twisting, can lead to outer thigh pain. Runners commonly get affected with this kind of pain on the outer side of the thigh.
Iliotibial Band Inflammation: Inflammation of the iliotibial band triggers a condition called Iliotibial band syndrome or ITBS, which causes pain on the outer side of the thigh.
Other symptoms like discomfort, swelling, and pain which spread to the outer thigh area also occur.
Muscle Contusion: Muscle contusion is common among football and rugby players and can occur in the outer thigh area too. The symptoms experienced are pain, tenderness, swelling, and discoloration of the skin of the outer thigh.
Other Causes: The other causes for pain on the outer side of the thigh are arthritis, sciatica, hip replacement, and hamstring strain.
How Can Pain on the Outer Side of the Thigh Be Treated?
Pain on the outer side of the thigh can be self-limiting and may go away on its own. However, it does take some time for the outer thigh pain to ease. Some ways through which outer thigh pain can be relieved include:
- Reducing the activities like excessive walking or running relieves Pain on the outer side of the thigh.
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or paracetamol for treating outer thigh pain.
- Losing weight in case of the obese people suffering from outer thigh pain.
- Taking injections of steroid and local anaesthetic to alleviate Pain on the outer side of the thigh.
- Operation for decompressing the nerve is used as a management option in case of Meralgia paresthetica.
- Consulting a physiotherapist who can examine the problem and suggest exercises for reducing the pain in the outer thigh area.
How to Prevent Pain on the Outer Side of the Thigh?
To prevent Pain on the outer side of the thigh, one should take rest after performing heavy physical activities. Performing excessive physical activities should be avoided. Exercises like stretching, massage, and ice and heat treatment prove beneficial in treating outer thigh pain. Pain relievers like ibuprofen acetaminophen can also help in easing mild Pain on the outer side of the thigh.
Outer thigh pain affects people who engage in intense physical activities, like athletes and power-lifters. Pain on the outer side of the thigh is also a clinical symptom of different medical disorders. Mild outer thigh pain can be treated with some home care methods. However, acute pain on the outer side of the thigh needs consultation with a doctor and a physiotherapist to get rid of it.