What causes inner thigh pain?

inner thigh painInner thigh pain can be uncomfortable and brief or it can be lasting and debilitating. Depending on the cause of the pain, you may need to seek medical attention and treatment.

Inner thigh pain can be different for each individual. Just how the pain presents itself depends on what the underlying cause is, but some people describe it as a sharp pain in the inner thigh – the kind of jolt that keeps a person awake at night. In many cases, inner thigh muscle pain can be due to intense physical exercise; a sign that you have over done it.

What causes inner thigh pain?


Pulled inner thigh muscles are an obvious cause of thigh pain, but you might be surprised to hear about some of the causes that aren’t directly related to physical exercise. For example, there are different reasons that a person may experience lower inner thigh pain or upper inner thigh pain.

Here’s an outline of inner thigh muscle pain causes:

Groin strain

This occurs when the muscles on the inner leg get over-stretched or torn. This can cause mild to severe pain along the inside of the upper thigh, usually where the inner thigh meets the pelvic bone. Groin strain can make it difficult to walk.

Hip impingement

This is a deformity in the ball socket of the hipbone. It leads to pain and stiffness in the groin and inner thigh. People who have hip impingement or femoracetabular impingement, as it is called, may feel pain when moving the hip, when sitting for long periods, or when walking.

Inguinal hernia

When parts of the intestines push through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles, it is an inguinal hernia. This can cause a bulge on the side of the pubic bone. Pain is often felt when the person coughs or lifts something heavy. Some people experience sudden sharp pain in the groin and have difficulty with bowel movements. It is important in these cases to see a doctor immediately.


This can cause sharp, severe pains in the joints. For instance, osteoarthritis in the hip can lead to inner thigh pain when walking, running, or taking part in other physical activity. According to the World Health Organization, over 9 percent of men and 18 percent of women over the age of 60 have some form of osteoarthritis.

Kidney stones

Kidney stones often cause severe pain in the back that radiates to the inner thigh. Many people are surprised to hear that this is one of the most common inner thigh pain causes.


Pain and stiffness in the pelvic joints can lead to inner thigh pain when a woman is pregnant. It is believed that the weight and position of the baby have a lot to do with whether you will experience inner thigh pain during pregnancy. For many moms-to-be, the thigh pain is worse when walking upstairs, turning over in bed, and standing on one leg. Pregnancy can also cause a condition known as pubic dysfunction. This happens when the relaxing of pelvic ligaments creates a lack of stability at the level of the pelvic bone.


This is a type of cancer that impacts the bone. It normally affects children and teenagers. The pain in the inner thigh occurs as the cancerous cells grow on the bone near the thigh. Reduced range of motion, tenderness to the touch, inflammation, and redness are also symptoms of osteosarcoma.

There are some other causes of inner thigh pain worth noting. There is a condition called edema that can lead to inner thigh pain. It is caused by various health conditions, particularly those involving the kidneys. Lipoma is another condition that can lead to inner thigh pain. Lipoma is a growth of fat cells between the skin and underlying muscle layer. Septic arthritis, which is inflammation of one or more joints due to bacteria, and surgical procedures, can also cause inner thigh pain.

Over-exertion, overstretching, and abruptly interrupting physical activity are the most common causes of inner thigh pain. Statistics show that literally millions of sports injuries are reported every year and many involve the inner thigh.

Prevention of inner thigh pain

Pain in the inner thigh is preventable in many cases. If you have a medical condition, you will have to talk to your doctor about ways to manage the pain, but the majority of us have the ability to use exercise as a way to avoid inner thigh pain. Regular exercise can help strengthen the stomach, back, and hip muscles.


Here are what many physiotherapists and sports medicine experts suggest:

  • Warm up the groin by stretching before exercise.
  • Increase intensity of exercise gradually so as not to injure yourself
  • Use proper equipment when exercising
  • Use proper footwear when exercising
  • Drink plenty of fluids. It can help prevent muscle stiffness and pain
  • Don’t lift objects that are too heavy for you to handle on your own. Lifting heavy objects are a common cause of hernia formation.

There are people who do exercise and take precautions, yet they still get pain in the inner thigh. While this can be frustrating, these individuals could be missing something or they just might have an underlying reason for having the inner thigh pain. It’s important to consult a doctor if your pain is a mystery, if it is severe and long lasting, or if it is accompanied by other unusual symptoms.

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