When a patient complains of pain in upper outer side of the thigh, it relates to many factors and conditions. Pain can reduce the ability of a person in normal daily activities. It can be due to compression of the nerve which provides sensation to the surface of skin or it is associated with muscles on the outer aspect of the thigh.
You often come across such pain among athletes, but nowadays, it has become more common problem as more and more people are wearing tight fitting trousers. It can also occur due to local trauma or diseases such as diabetes.
The characteristic feature is burning, tingling and numbness. In majority of cases pain in thigh can be treated conservatively. Physiotherapy, stretching exercises, and wearing lose fitting clothes usually relieve the discomforting pain.
What Causes Pain In The Upper Outer Thigh?
Pain in upper lateral side of thigh can originate from many factors. The underlying cause can be due to damage to the nerve named lateral cutaneous nerve. It can also occur due to blunt trauma to the muscles of thigh in this region.
- Meralgia paresthetica: It is a condition resulting from compression of lateral femoral cutaneous nerve. This nerve exclusively supplies sensation to the skin on the outer thigh. Compression of this nerve occurs under the inguinal ligament. The ligament passes from the abdomen to upper thigh through the groin area. Pressure in the groin area from wearing tight fitting clothes, obesity, enlarged size of uterus in pregnancy and scar tissue after surgery can precipitate such type of pain.
- Trochanteric bursitis: Burning pain in the upper thigh can occur when there is inflammation or injury to the tissues which lies over the greater trochanter of femur. It is a bony prominence near the head of femur (the thigh bone). Injury can occur due to pressure or rapid movement of hip joint. It is common in athletes where the joint is associated with rapid movement.
- Trauma to the muscles: Usually the traumatic injury is common in people playing contact sports such as hockey and football. Trauma in this region can give rise to pain and tingling sensation. Along with pain, there may be swelling and difficulty in moving the leg from the thigh. Seat belt injury caused after motor accident can also cause pain in upper thigh.
- Diabetes: In this disease the sensory nerves of the body are damaged, which also includes the nerve on the outer side of thigh.
- Lying in curled up position for long period of time can cause compression of nerve supplying the skin of thigh. A damaged nerve gets irritated and inflamed leading to pain in the upper outer thigh area.
Home Remedies For Upper Thigh Pain
Majority of patients suffering from this discomfort are treated conservatively. The steps for conservative treatment are:
- Rest: Patient suffering from pain in upper outer side of thigh need to rest. Especially those who play sports.
- Wear lose fitting clothes. It reduces pressure on the nerve. The pain vanishes after few days.
- If you are overweight, try to reduce your weight.
- Diabetics should control their blood sugar. Eat foods that are rich in multivitamins and minerals.
- Pain may alleviate for time being after taking over the counter medications anti inflammatory and painkillers. However, you have to search for the root cause. Unless the cause is addressed pain may come again.
- Muscle stretching exercises is also beneficial in dealing with pain on outer thigh if the underlying cause is muscle damage.