Upper Thigh Pain When Walking - Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention

Upper Thigh Pain When Walking – Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention

Young and old sometime in their lifetime experience either of these. Sharp front thigh pain, back thigh pain, outer thigh or even inner thigh which can sometimes hamper their movement. When there is upper thigh pain when walking individual should not be ignore as it may be a warning sign of a more serious condition.

Upper Thigh Pain When Walking Means

Upper thigh pain when walking can range from a mild to a sharpshooting feeling. The sharp pain in the thigh may come and go depending on the nature of the cause. However, if the pain does not cease on using home remedies for instance rest, ice and heat. It means there area more underlying problem which requires urgent attention.

Some of the conditions associated with thigh pain include Meralgia Paresthetica, Blood Clot or Deep Vein Thrombosis, Diabetic Neuropathy, Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS), Repetitive Exercises, Overweight or Obese and Pregnancy among many other.

What Causes Upper Thigh Pain When Walking?

There is the various cause of this pain, it including muscle injuries, arthritis and nerve problems among other ailments.

Muscle Injuries

The pain may be brought about by an injury at the muscles, ligaments. Some of the common injuries in this area are muscle strains and sprains.

Strains and sprain can occur on a muscle, tendons or even tendons. A sprain will occur when there is a torn in a ligament while strain occurs when there is a tear on either a muscle or tendons.

Some of the Symptoms of A Strain or Sprain

  • Swelling on the upper thigh
  • Pain that spreads up and down on the upper thigh
  • Difficulty stretching the thigh
  • Sudden pain while walking

Injuries From Overuse

This happens when the muscle around the thigh is overworked. This pain keeps on getting worse with time as one age. The main sign of injury is intense thigh pain when one starts to walk and when standing.


Nowadays people are spending a lot of time in the office doing work with little exercise. Sitting for a very long period of time put a lot of pressure on the thigh muscle, with time the muscle weakens and this, in turn, initiates muscle pain on the upper thigh.

Blood Clots

Pain in the upper thigh while walking may be caused by blood clots in blood veins a condition known as DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). This condition can be fatal if at all it travels to vital body parties for instance heart, lungs or even brain. This disorder should be treated immediately for it has the tendency of turning fatal easily.

Blood Clots Symptoms

  • Swelling or heat along the thigh veins
  • Unexplained pain while walking which does not reduce for many days
  • Pain when walking
  • Shortness of breath when walking at this stage it means that clot as moved to the lungs and hearts

Nerve Pain

Nerve pain while walking occurs when there is an injury to the nerves. The pain can occur even without the physical injury to the upper thigh.

Chronic Condition

Some condition can cause pain in the upper thigh while walking for example fibromyalgia, arthritis among other illnesses.

Bones Cancer

There is a different type of cancer that can affect thigh bone bringing in pain when one is walking. They include Chondrosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma and Osteosarcoma.

Symptoms of Bone Cancer

  • Pain at the upper part of a thigh
  • Swelling in the upper thigh
  • Getting tired easily while walking

Upper Thigh Pain When Walking Diagnosis

Up to now no distinct diagnosis of the reason behind high thigh pain. For a doctor to recommend the best remedy she or he has to check a recent injury and also take a complete medical history of the patient. If the examining doctor does not find any observable cause they are forced to conduct these tests

  • Ultrasound imaging can be done to check blood clots
  • Blood tests to measure disorders such as arthritis
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) scans to view the muscles
  • X-rays to check the bones
  • A procedure known as joint aspiration may be done. It entails the extraction of liquid from a joint to check for joint problems
  • Nerve tests. For instance, electromyography and nerve transmission studies

Upper Thigh Pain When Walking Treatment

Solution to this pain depends on its source. When it only minor injuries home treatment will do which include ice, gentle massage, rest and heat among other can be used.

Apart from the few mentions above other treatment which may put into consideration may include

  • Physical Therapy
  • Painkiller may be given to reduce the pain
  • If the patient has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or even arthritis-specific medication for those ailments may be used
  • If the patient has damaged tendons, ligament or even muscles surgery must be done
  • Blood thinner may be required if the patient has a blood clot in the upper thigh
  • Damaged nerves may require surgery to rectify it
  • Patient with diabetes which one the cause of upper thigh pain should be put into medication to prevent more nerve damage
  • Also alternative treatment for instance chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy may be used

Home Remedies For Upper Thigh Pain When Walking

Dealing with thigh pain is an easy thing since it can be treated with home remedies such as:

Ice – In order to reduces pain, inflammation and swelling ice cubes are wrapped with a piece of cloth on the affected area. It should never be applied directly to avoid redness or clogged pores.

Moderating Activity -Since most of the pain is caused by walking it is best recommended adequate rest to avoid further injury and also to allow healing and at the same time reduce swelling.

Heat – It helps in relaxation of muscle and blood circulation in the muscle. There are many things available which can be used to apply heat for example hot water bottle, heated wrap, heating pad among many. It applied on the injury 3-4 times a day. Heating can help reduce thigh pain associated with arthritis.

Weight Management – Gaining weight increase stress on the leg particularly on the joint which eventually causes thigh pain it is recommended to maintain an ideal body weight to avoid exerting stress on the lower part of the body.

Over The Counter Medications – Such as ibuprofen (Advil), or even acetaminophen (Tylenol). These non prescription can be used in the first days of the pain. They help to reduce inflammation as well as pain.

Elevate The Leg – Elevating the leg by keeping it above the level of your heart help to reduce swelling and pain. If this is not possible keep it parallel to the ground level.

However, precaution should be taken when trying to relieve thigh pain using home remedies as some of the thigh pain if not treated by a doctor can be fatal. If a home remedy does help after numerous after applying for days one should seek medical treatment from a specialist doctor.

Upper Thigh Pain Prevention

Prevention is better than curing some of the steps that may help avert upper thigh pain include

  • Remaining physically active
  • Taking regular stretching breaks for the period of sitting
  • Stretching before and after exercise
  • Having own trainer to help in determining a healthful level of activity that will not lead to overuse injuries
  • Managing and treating medical conditions, as and arthritis and diabetes.


Since most upper thigh pain when walking is not fatal one should not worry so much in case he or she experiences it. The good news is that it can be treated simply with a common home solution.

However, if the home remedies do not work one should see a doctor immediately since some thigh pain is a signal of more serious ailment. Such as cancer and blood clot which if they are not treated earlier they can lead to death.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad

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