Front and Inner Thigh Pain

Usual Suspects:

  1. The muscles of the front and inner thigh
  2. The muscles of the abdomen
  3. The muscles of the lower back and buttock

The Imbue Pain Relief Patch temporarily relieves minor aches and pains of muscles and joints. In the diagrams below, the X’s show the locations of common trigger points (localized muscle strain), and the colored shading shows the pain pattern each trigger point produces. This pain is often several inches (or more) away from the trigger point at which it originates. When a trigger point is to blame for your pain, applying the Imbue Pain Relief Patch at the site of the trigger point sometimes yields better results than applying it where you typically feel the pain.

Also see the Outer Thigh Pain and/or Back of Thigh Pain sections if your pain is in one of those areas.

Pain of the Front and Inner Thigh Due to the Muscles of the Inner Thigh

These muscles are the most obvious source of pain in the front and inner thigh. However, the origin of the pain may not be where you feel it, so be sure to check all the muscles that seem even remotely related to your pain. You may be surprised. Even if you determine that a particular trigger point is present and causing you pain, though, this does not mean that there aren’t trigger points in other muscles, too. Oftentimes, an undiscovered trigger point leads to the formation of “satellite” trigger points and until the master trigger point is dealt with, the pain cannot fully resolve. Take a look at the diagrams below and feel the whole thigh thoroughly. If you find tenderness in a muscle that produces pain like what you have been experiencing, do some massage and apply the Imbue Pain Relief Patch here.

Pectineus:

This is the uppermost of the inner thigh muscles. It is located just below the crease of the groin. The red shading shows its pain pattern, which is felt as a sharp or dull pain near the groin that may spread to the inner and frontal thigh area. Feel just below the crease of the groin, roughly halfway between the front and back surfaces of the thigh. If you find significant tenderness in this area, especially if pressing here produces the pain you have been experiencing, do some massage here, but keep it gentle. This area is usually too sensitive for application of the Imbue Pain Relief Patch. If you wish to try using the patch here, do a test first with just a postage stamp sized piece. If no irritation occurs and removal is easy, you may proceed with a larger patch, being very careful to avoid the genital region.

Vastus Medialis:

This muscle (part of the quadriceps) can be seen as the bulge at the inner thigh just above the knee. It’s a major player in inner knee pain, and can also cause pain up the inner/frontal thigh. Search roughly where the frontal surface and inner surface of the thigh meet, starting just above the upper-inside corner of the kneecap and following about halfway up the thigh. Press firmly and also try sliding the fingers side to side to find tender spots.

 

Gracilis:

The gracilis muscle is like a long thin strap that runs from the underside of the pelvis at its upper end to the inside of the knee at its lower end. The diagram shows (as X’s) two common locations where trigger points arise when the gracilis is irritated, but trigger points may actually arise anywhere along its length. The pain of each trigger point occurs in the few surrounding inches, rather than being referred elsewhere. Gracilis pain is often a burning or stinging feeling right under the skin, and possibly a broader achiness. Gracilis lies on top of the other inner thigh muscles, and because it’s so thin may not be able to feel it individually. Just feel thoroughly along the whole inner thigh. If you find any points that are quite tender, especially if they reproduce your groin/pelvic pain, do some gentle massage and apply the Imbue Pain Relief Patch here.

Adductor Longus and Adductor Brevis:

These muscles run from the bottom of the pelvis to the upper, rear surface of the thigh bone. Contracting these muscles brings the thigh toward the midline of the body (adduction). The X’s in this diagram show the general location of trigger points that form when this muscle is irritated. The red shading shows the pain pattern it is capable of producing. Pain may occur at the groin and front of the hip, the inner/frontal thigh and knee, and even down the inside of the shin. If you sit with your ankle crossed over your knee, and imagine a line that divides the inside surface of your thigh in half lengthwise (see dotted line in lower diagram), you will feel adductor longus and brevis near the upper end of this line. If you raise your knee slightly toward your face while feeling your inner thigh, these muscles (adductor longus, in particular) should stand out. Feel thoroughly in this region. If you find any points that are significantly tender, do some gentle massage here. If these points are several inches away from the groin and your skin in this area is not too sensitive, you can use the Imbue Pain Relief Patch here. If you are concerned about removal, you can try applying a thin layer of lotion or oil to the skin before putting the patch on. If irritation occurs, remove the patch promptly by soaking it in warm water.

Adductor Magnus:

This very large muscle runs from the base of the pelvis to the back of the thigh bone (femur). We use this muscle to “adduct” the thigh, meaning, to bring it inward toward the other thigh. If you were to squeeze a ball between your knees, adductor magnus would be one of the main muscles involved in this motion.

The X’s at the middle of the inside thigh show trigger points that can produce a broad region of pain along the inner thigh and into the groin (see red shaded area). They can be found just slightly behind the midline of the inner thigh (slightly behind adductor longus and brevis above). While seated on a bed or chair, you can open the inner thigh by resting one ankle on the opposite knee or you can sit on the edge of a bed with the bent leg on the bed and the other leg hanging down with the foot on the floor. Feel the whole length of the muscle, keeping in mind that the most common trigger point locations are near or just above the halfway point between the groin and the knee.

Vastus Intermedius:

Part of the quadriceps, this muscle runs from the upper end of the thigh bone to just below the knee. Its main trigger point occurs at the front of the thigh, about a quarter of the way from the groin to the knee. Search several inches in all directions. Its pain pattern (see red shading) spreads over the upper, frontal thigh. The presence of this trigger point also may make climbing stairs and straightening the knee difficult.

Sartorius:

The longest muscle in the body, sartorius runs from the prominent frontal portion of the hip bone, across the thigh, to attach just below the inside of the knee. Trigger points can occur anywhere along it, and each one can produce pain (sometimes with a burning or numb quality) in the surrounding few inches. Trigger points near the knee can make the inner knee overly sensitive to touch. This diagram shows the upper portion of the muscle on the straight (right) leg and then the lowest portion on the inside of the other leg. Feel along the full length of this muscle, do some massage, and apply the Imbue Pain Relief Patch if you find any especially tender spots.

Rectus Femoris:

This is another of the four muscles that make up the quadriceps, the large and powerful muscle of the front of the thigh. All four of these come together in one tendon that encloses the kneecap and attaches to the lower leg. Both of these trigger points have roughly the same pain pattern, which tends to be more focused on the knee than the thigh, but they are still worth examining, since they may refer pain to the area above the kneecap. Feel along the line from the front prominence of the hip bone to the kneecap. If you find a significantly tender point that produces spreading pain down the thigh, do some massage here and apply the Imbue Pain Relief Patch.

Thigh Pain Due to the Muscles of the Abdomen

Two muscles in this area may cause pain of the upper thigh. These are rectus abdominis, the central “six pack” muscle, and the psoas, a deeper muscle which runs from the front of the lower spine through to the inside of the hip.

Psoas:

The psoas is a unique muscle. It connects the lower spine to inside of the hip and then (through its associated muscle, iliacus) to the top of the thigh bone. When it contracts, it brings the thigh toward the torso. It’s also instrumental in helping us sit up from a lying down position. In this diagram, the uppermost X shows the common location of the (right side) upper psoas trigger point. If present, it usually occurs about an inch or two to each side of the navel and sometimes slightly below it. The trigger point at the lower black X is found just inside the most prominent aspect of the hip bone. The yellow X shows an iliacus trigger point which occurs on the inside upper thigh, just below the groin. Tension at any of these three points can produce pain or numbness in the upper thigh (and also in the groin, genitals, and lower back).

You can access this muscle most easily if you lie on your back with your knees bent and resting together on one side (see picture). This allows you to feel the psoas on the side opposite from where your knees are lying. Use all your fingertips together to press deeply at the uppermost X first (you may want to trim your fingernails for this). Start an inch or two to the outside of your navel, and search a few inches in all directions. If you raise your head, this will contract the more superficial rectus abdominis muscles. Keep in mind that you need to feel outside and underneath these muscles to get to the psoas. If the psoas is overly rigid, it will feel like a firm vertical band, roughly like a banana, and it will be tender. If this is the case, do some self massage here (you will likely need to repeatedly work on it to encourage the muscle to really let go) and apply the Imbue Pain Relief Patch where it is most painful. If you are feeling the psoas on the left and notice a strong pulsation in our abdomen, this is probably your descending aorta (a major artery) and you should move just slightly outward (toward your side) to find the psoas.

Next, you can follow the psoas downward and outward to its lower attachment inside the pelvis. From where the pelvic bone sticks up the most (the anterior superior iliac spine or ASIS), you’ll be feeling just slightly closer to the midline. Feel a few inches up and down. If you encounter a very tender point that produces the pain you have been experiencing in your groin or pelvis, do some gentle massage. You may apply a piece of the Imbue Pain Relief Patch here (being careful to stay away from the genital region). It is less likely that you will need to address the iliacus trigger point (indicated by the yellow X in the diagram above) if you work on these upper points. However, if the pain remains, especially in the thigh, you can search for this trigger point by lying flat with your legs extended and pressing deeply against the front/inside surface of the thigh bone about an inch below your groin. If you find a significantly tender point that produces the pain you have been experiencing, you can do some massage here. This lower region is usually too sensitive (and hairy) for most people to use the Imbue Pain Relief Patch.

Rectus Abdominis:

These central muscles of the abdomen, which give it the “six pack” look when well toned, can produce pain all over the abdomen, into the back, and down into the groin, genitals, and upper, inside thigh. While this muscle is not the most likely cause of thigh pain, it’s still worth checking, especially if this pain pattern sounds like what you have been experiencing. The black X’s show some possible trigger points. Just press methodically all throughout the region between your navel and the top of your pubic bone (slightly above the genitals), and a few inches to either side. If you find an area of significant tenderness, do some massage here, and if possible (if the skin in the area is not too sensitive or hairy), you can apply the Imbue Pain Patch. You can also use clippers on the hair in this region and then apply the Imbue Patch, as long as you stay away from the genital region.

Frontal/Inner Thigh Pain Due to the Muscles of the Lower Back and Buttock

These muscles are less likely to be the cause of frontal or inner thigh pain than some of those covered above, but they’re worth checking, especially if you haven’t gotten positive results from checking the muscles in the thigh and abdomen. Feeling this area is best done with the help of a friend or the use of a Thera Cane or a ball. If using a ball (tennis ball or lacrosse ball), lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Place the ball under you and roll slowly on it. Alternatively, you can place the ball between your buttock/back and a wall (see diagram), and then slowly roll it over the target area. If you find an area of significant pain, do some massage here and apply the Imbue Pain Relief Patch.

Quadratus Lumborum:

This powerful muscle covers most of the lower back and runs from the lowest rib to the top of the pelvis. Its trigger points tend to send pain downward to the hip and buttock area, though it may also spread to the upper frontal thigh. The trigger point at the blue X in this diagram corresponds with the pain pattern indicated by the blue shading, and the red X produces the pain pattern shown by the red shading. These points are found near the outer edge of this thick muscle, usually about 3 inches out from the spine (less for smaller framed people and more for larger folks). If you press diagonally inward and downward here, you should feel the bony wings (transverse processes) of the lower spinal bones under the muscle.

Piriformis:

The piriformis is a muscular band that runs from the edge of the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) outward to the top of the thigh bone (the greater trochanter of the femur). While it usually produces pain in the hip and buttock area (see red shading in the diagram), it can cause a lot of problems throughout the leg by squeezing on the sciatic nerve. This is a very long, thick nerve that runs through or beneath the piriformis muscle and then travels down the leg and branches out. When it is pinched, it can produce nervy pain in the thigh, lower leg, and foot. The two primary trigger point regions of the piriformis are just against the outside edge of the sacrum (see inner X in diagram) and just inside the back of the hip joint (outer X), though it is worth examining the whole area inside the box.

Gluteus Minimus:

This is the smallest of the three gluteal (buttock) muscles, though it can cause the broadest pattern of referred pain. The diagram shows the usual locations of trigger points in this muscle, indicated with X’s. Trigger points at the red X’s produce the pain pattern indicated by the red shading, and those at the blue X’s produce pain in the region of the blue shading. While this muscle doesn’t normally produce pain in the front or inner thigh, it sometimes causes numbness in these areas.

 

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