Thigh injuries

Thigh problems are normally the result of an injury caused by:

  • overstretching or twisting during activities or sport
  • a fall
  • a direct blow to the thigh

Pain on the outside of your thigh may also come on for no apparent reason.

The muscles around your thigh are very strong and injuries to them settle within 6 weeks

Keeping active

Keeping active is an essential part of your treatment and recovery and is the single best thing you can do for your health.

Being physically active throughout your recovery can:

  • prevent a recurrence of the problem
  • maintain your current levels of fitness – even if you have to modify what you normally do, any activity is better than none
  • keep your other muscles and joints strong and flexible
  • prevent weight gain

More about keeping active

Resting or moving?

Within the first 24 to 48 hours after a thigh injury you should try to:

  • rest your leg but avoid long spells of not moving at all
  • move your leg gently for 10 to 20 seconds every hour when you are awake

After 48 hours:

  • Try to use your leg more - exercise really helps your thigh and can relieve pain
  • Do whatever you normally would and stay at, or return to work - this is important and is the best way to get better
  • When going upstairs, reduce the strain on your thigh by leading with your good leg. If there's a handrail, use it
  • When going downstairs, reduce the strain on your thigh by leading with your problem leg - if there's a handrail, use it

What about sports?

You should take your time before taking part in any sports after a thigh problem. If you take part in sports too soon you could be injured again.

Before doing sports, you should:

  • have no swelling
  • be able to move your leg properly
  • have full or close to full strength
  • be able to take your weight through your leg without limping

Remember to stretch and warm up fully before sports.

Can my thigh problem cause trouble anywhere else?

You may feel some pain in the muscles around your hip, knee or calf. This should improve as your thigh problem gets better.

Occasionally, problems felt in your thigh can be caused by a back problem even though you don't feel pain in your back. People with this sort of problem often describe the pain as:

  • pins and needles
  • sharp
  • hot or burning

This pain is usually felt in the back of the thigh.

If you experience these for longer than a week, speak to your GP.

Do I need to see my doctor?

You don't normally need to see your doctor if you follow the right advice and take the right medication.

Your thigh problem should improve over the next 6 weeks.

If you experience any of the following, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Pain that gets worse and worse
  • Pain you would describe as pins and needles, sharp, hot or burning pain usually in the back of the thigh that doesn't improve after a week
  • Difficulty putting weight on your leg
  • Your thigh problem has not improved within 6 weeks

Find your nearest GP practice

Musculoskeletal (MSK) Helpline

If you have a thigh problem, the Musculoskeletal Advice and Triage Service (MATS) can provide information and advice to help with your problem, and refer you to a healthcare professional if you need it.
How to contact