Upper thigh pain when walking & running only

by Samantha
(Scunthorpe, UK)

Does running your thumb through the groin and inner thigh cause pain?

Does running your thumb through the groin and inner thigh cause pain?

I have a pain in my upper thigh. The pain moves but is typically along the "knicker line" or down the middle of the front of the thigh. The pain only occurs when walking or running. Typically it does ease after a few steps but has become worse and instead of easing the pain goes and instead the whole thigh feels "tight" or like it is in a clamp.

I have no pain at all when doing squats, lunges or using the leg press machine or adductor / abductor machines in the gym.

I have no pain at all when sitting or lying.

I have no back pain.

This issue started a week ago as a mild stiffness that has become worse each day. I am now not running to see if that helps


Hello Samantha,
First, let's remember that the point of any exercise routine is to improve your health; unless you're a top athlete who simply has to push herself, I recommend you stop and consider.

Try to elicit exactly which movements provoke the pain; my first thought was this is muscular but if doing squats etc causes no pain, then that's unlikely.

Does pulling your knee to the chest hurt or feel inordinately stiff? What about dropping it into the lotus position?

It's important this resolve quickly; if it doesn't you absolutely must see a hip specialist; there are some serious conditions which if not caught early can lead to a life time of misery.

Many of the large thigh muscles attach to the pubic bone; you could have a stress fracture, or some other condition related to the pelvis; it will take a careful and thorough examination to solve this conundrum.

Back off from heavy exercise until a clear diagnosis is made, or the condition resolves of itself.

Let me know what happens.

Dr B

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May 28, 2017
Thank you for comment on pain running down the front of the thigh
by: Sam Ritson

Thanks for your comments. Fortunately my Physio seems to have found the source of the issue - SI joint dysfunction. As you indicated, this issue radiates down through the pelvis leading to the pain down the front of the leg.

I had a hysterectomy a year a go so it is possible that the physical change that causes has led to things moving, mis-alignment etc etc so that could be why this condition has developed.

My Physio has provided exercises - which include pulling the knee to the chest, one of the tests you indicated.

So, some exercises but I can now move forward.

Thanks again for your help.

That's great, Sam. It must resolve; if it doesn't ask for another opinion. I'm just a little dubious of the primary cause of your pain being in the SIJ; it doesn't often go down the front of the leg; that SI often develops as a secondary condition, muddying the water.

Dr B

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