Front Thigh Pain: Common Causes and Treatments

Front Thigh Pain

Do you suffer from front thigh pain? Have you ever wondered where the pain in your front thigh comes from? Your front thigh consists of one of the largest group of muscles in your body called quadriceps.

Quadriceps are a combination of four muscles surrounding your femur. Also included in the front thigh are arteries, veins, and lymph vessels.

Muscles, bone, and vessels can be the cause of front thigh pain. It affects the calf, feet, knee, and the ankles. Front thigh pain is not serious, but if the pain does not go away with treatment or it gets worse, you should consult your healthcare provider.


What Causes Front Thigh Pain?

What causes front thigh pain? There are many causes of anterior thigh pain including:

  • Muscle cramping
  • Strains
  • Bruising
  • Bone infections
  • Thigh injuries
  • Bone cancer
  • Pain from your back or hip along with other causes

Following are the common causes of pain in front thighs:

1. Charley Horse

One of the most common causes of front thigh pain is muscle cramping or muscle spasms. It is also known as Charley Horse. Muscle spasms or cramping creates pain in the upper leg muscles and are involuntary contractions of the quadriceps.

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A Charley horse happens if the muscles are overworked, if you are dehydrated, or if the nerves get irritated. Athletes who run or jump are prone to front thigh pain.

2. Muscle Strain

Muscle strain, also known as muscle tear is also a cause of front thigh pain. Kicking and running leads to muscle strain.

3. Muscle Bruising

Muscle bruising, also called contusion is caused by a bang, bash, or bump to your thigh causing pain in the front thigh.

Thigh muscles are one of the highly functional muscles in the body. Deep bruising or contusions can be extremely painful and cause swelling or tightness of the thigh. Athletes tend to be more prone to deep thigh contusions.

4. Bone Infection

Osteomyelitis, a bone infection, can be a cause of front thigh pain when sitting. Osteomyelitis occurs as a result of bacteria entering the bone and may occur after surgery. Your muscles get tender, swell and cause front thigh pain.

5. Thigh Injuries

Thigh injuries can occur during exercise or in the event of an accident. When an injury occurs, it can be excruciating and it can be long term or short term.

6. Pregnancy

Front thigh pain can occur during pregnancy. As baby grows in the womb, it creates increased pressure on the thigh and knees leading to anterior thigh pain. Increasing weight can also cause front thigh pain.

7. Herniated Disc

When a disc presses on the nerves in your back it may cause numbness down your leg or pain and cramping in your thighs. Ti can affect one or both legs, cause tingling in the leg, lower back pain, and pain in the buttocks.

8. Bone Cancer

Bone cancer called osteosarcoma, can cause swelling and front thigh pain especially if cancer reaches an advanced stage.

9. Referred Pain

Referred pain or pain which comes from a different part of your body can cause front thigh pain. The pain typically comes from your hip joint, upper lumbar spine, or iliac joint.

10. Myositis Ossificans

Myositis ossificans is a condition common in male athletes which cause front thigh pain. This condition occurs when the deep tissue of the thigh bleed due to injury or deep bruising.

11. Cholesterol Medications

Cholesterol medication, also known as statins, can cause muscle pain. Statins help reduce cholesterol in your body but a side effect of the statins is front thigh pain.


Front Thigh PainTreatment Options

How to treat front thigh pain? Front thigh pain treatment options include traditional medical treatments and home remedies. It is important to understand the cause of the front thigh pain in order to use the correct treatment.

Traditional Treatments

Pain killers or pain reliever sprays can be very effective to relieve pain. Antibiotics can be used for front thigh pain caused by bacterial infections.

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Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are effective treatments when your front thigh pain is caused by osteosarcoma.

Surgery is also a treatment option to repair muscle tears. Surgery can help when other treatments fail to provide relief.

Stopping the intake of cholesterol reducing medications and discussing alternatives with you healthcare provider can also end front thigh pain.

Home Remedies for Front Thigh Pain

On the other hand, home remedies can be extremely effective for front thigh pain treatment.

  • Rest

Rest or avoiding any activity can relieve pain.

  • Ice

Applying ice to the area of pain will reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Keep in mind that ice should be applied within the first 72 hours.

  • Compression

Compression applied to your thighs using an elastic bandage can make you feel better.

  • Elevate

Additionally, as with all muscle strains, elevating the part above your heart can relieve pressure resulting in pain relief.

  • Avoid Heat

Do not use heat because applying heat will increase swelling and thigh tightness.

  • Light Massage

A professional massage will help relieve pain, however, be careful not to massage newly injured thigh muscles because it might lead to myositis ossificans.

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  • Recover

It is important to return to normalcy slowly and give your body a chance to heal. Recovering from muscle pain can be very slow but everyone’s body has a magical way of healing itself.

Thigh muscle recovery and pain relief will be even slower if you decide not to give yourself the time to recover and decide to exercise.

For pregnant women, your provider will recommend that you sleep in a more relaxing position and avoid standing for long hours.

  • Warm Up

Prior to stretching a light warm up of walking or bicycle riding is recommended. Stretching should be held for three sets of 20 to 30 seconds. You should also hold your stretch at the first point of tension and it should be gentle with no excessive tension.

Exercising can continue only when your front thigh pain is not painful when touched after you wake up, while stretching, and during light to moderate exercise.

Now you know what causes front thigh pain, you can take necessary measures to prevent the obvious causes. You can also refer to the above treatments to relieve front thigh pain.

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Sources:
Hughes M., “What Causes Front Thigh Pain?,” Sep 17, 2011, Livestrong web site; http://www.livestrong.com/article/230176-what-causes-front-thigh-pain/, last accessed Sep 1, 2017
Rodriguez A., “Why Do Statins Cause Muscle Pain?,” Feb 2, 2017, Healthline web site; http://www.healthline.com/health/statins-why-do-they-cause-muscle-pain, last accessed Sep 1, 2017
“Anterior (Front) of the Thigh,” Injury Treatment Group; http://www.injurytreatment.com.au/injury-information/upper-leg-thigh/anterior-front-of-the-thigh/, last accessed Sep 1, 2017


James Concato

James Concato

James Concato is a Hospital Administrator in the Chicagoland area. He has been in healthcare for more than 25 years. He holds a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration from Quinnipiac University and has worked in or lead many different departments. Writing on cancer treatment and cancer prevention through natural treatments is his passion. James, like many others, has had family members pass away from cancer and he knows that Cancer screening is the key to better outcomes. As an administrator of different physician practices like Pediatrics, Surgery, Anesthesia, and Oncology James brings a wealth of knowledge to his writing. James is interested in educating the public through his writing.