Pain in the thigh is an uncomfortable sensation of varying intensity, a symptom of a developing pathology. It is a kind of preventive and protective reaction of the body to the effects of external or internal negative factors. When it occurs, functional systems are mobilized to eliminate the cause of discomfort. In most cases, the body is not able to cope with the disease on its own, and a person seeks medical help.
To diagnose a pathology that provokes the appearance of painful sensations, laboratory and instrumental studies are carried out. The study of the anamnesis, examination of the patient, the nature and frequency of pain described by him helps to establish it.
The main causes of pain in the thigh
Pain in the thigh is not only a sign of any pathology. They often arise after serious physical exertion and active sports training. Intensive muscle contraction requires a lot of energy from glucose breakdown. As a result of biochemical reactions, a lot of lactic acid accumulates in muscle tissue. It is she who provokes the occurrence of burning and pain. To eliminate them, a short rest is enough. Lactic acid is eliminated from the body and the human condition improves.
Discomfort can affect people who lead a sedentary image. Pain arises after a long walk or any physical exertion. Orthopedists recommend in such cases to undergo a full examination. Low motor activity can cause the development of arthrosis – a recurring articular pathology.
If a person moves a lot during the day, his hip joints are not subjected to increased stress, but the pain occurs with alarming frequency, it is time to consult a doctor.
Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.
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Sharp pain in the thigh occurs at the time of injury to the muscles, bones, joints, ligament-tendon apparatus. The most dangerous fracture of the femoral neck, especially in the elderly or senile. The older the victim, the less likely he is to recover completely. The pain is so acute that a person loses consciousness, appears with such injuries:
- a fracture of the pelvic bone in its sacral part;
- compression injuries in the lumbar spine resulting from a fall from a height;
- damage to the hip joint, hip bones due to a fall, a strong blow, prolonged compression.
Severe pain syndrome requires immediate hospitalization of the patient in the department of traumatologists. With dislocations, subluxations, ruptures of muscles, tendons, ligaments, the discomfort is no less intense. But with such injuries, their severity may gradually decrease. In some cases, a person does not even go to a medical institution. Broken fibers grow together incorrectly, often their integrity is not restored at all. As a result, thigh pains become aching, chronic, aggravated by walking or slight physical exertion. Often, an injured person develops osteoarthrosis several years later, a pathology that cannot be completely cured.
Joint and muscle diseases
A common cause of pain in the thigh is coxarthrosis, or osteoarthritis of the hip joint. Degenerative-dystrophic pathology in the absence of medical intervention slowly but stubbornly progresses. At the initial stage of coxarthrosis, discomfort is weak, expressed with an increase in motor activity. As the destruction of hyaline cartilage and abrasion of bone surfaces, pain intensifies, occur even at rest. They are accompanied by a crunch and clicks in the joint, its morning swelling and stiffness of movements. After some time, the intensity of the pain decreases again. This in no way indicates recovery – the joint gap coalesces, and doctors diagnose ankylosis – complete immobilization of the hip joint.
Discomfort during movement and at rest can also signal the development of the following acute and chronic pathologies:
- synovitis is an inflammatory process that occurs in the synovial bag, extending to the ligaments and tendons. Most often, one hip joint is affected, bilateral synovitis is rarely detected. For acute pathology, the occurrence of sharp, piercing pain is characteristic, and for chronic pathology it is muffled, aching. It is often accompanied by symptoms of general intoxication of the body: high fever and gastrointestinal upset;
arthritis is an inflammatory process in the cavity of the hip joint. With exacerbations, it provokes severe pain that spreads along the front and back of the thigh, radiating to the knee, lower leg, and ankle. Arthritis can occur against the background of general intoxication of the body. If a person does not seek medical help, then soon an irreversible lesion of the cartilage tissue occurs. Due to the development of arthritis are div >
- aseptic necrosis of the bone head – tissue death in those areas where the greatest load is placed on the hip joint. Symptoms of the pathology are manifested as follows: at the initial stage, pain in the right or left thigh is sharp, sudden, localized in the joint. Then it spreads to the groin, lumbosacral spine, knee. For several days, the intensity of the pain syndrome does not decrease, preventing a person from not only moving, but also sitting. Then the person’s well-being improves, discomfort occurs only with serious physical exertion. Soon they return, and their severity is greatly enhanced.
A common cause of hip pain is rheumatic polymyalgia. Her etiology has not yet been established. Some scientists hypothesize the development of the disease as a result of human infection with viruses. Others believe that the trigger for the occurrence of pathology is heredity and a malfunction in the immune system. With rheumatic polymyalgia, a person suffers from pulling, tugging, cutting pains. They appear not only with dynamic, but also with statistical loads. To reduce the intensity of discomfort, the patient very often changes the position of the body.
The causes of pain in the left or right thigh are established only after studying the results of radiography, MRI, CT, arthroscopy, and laboratory tests. It is impossible to diagnose pathology independently. Even if a person has rheumatoid arthritis that affects all joints, the conclusion about the cause of the pain is not so obvious. In some cases, they are provoked by pathologies that are not related to the musculoskeletal system. What else can provoke a deterioration in the well-being of a person:
- pinched nerves innervating the lumbosacral spine;
- pathologies of the cardiovascular system, occurring against the background of persistent narrowing of the aorta and iliac arteries, supplying blood to the lower part of the human body;
- Iliao-lumbar muscle syndrome, accompanied by damage to the femoral nerves and nearby muscle tissue;
- osteoarticular diseases of an infectious origin – osteomyelitis, tuberculosis of bones, abscess that occurs in severe appendicitis;
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- inflammatory processes in the organs of the female or male genitourinary system.
The cause of pain in the right or left thigh and leg can be benign and malignant neoplasms, the formed metastases. For example, prostate cancer can metastasize to bone, causing intense pain.
Why does a child have hip pain
Children lead a more active lifestyle than many adults, so they are injured more often. Drawing or aching pain in the thigh can result from falling off a bicycle, jumping from a height, or kicking. Traumatologists recommend that you seek medical help even with uncomfortable feelings of low intensity. The musculoskeletal system of children is only being formed. Only a doctor can predict the consequences of injury, prevent the development of complications. What else provokes the occurrence of pain in a child:
- congenital dislocation, usually diagnosed within six months after birth;
- osteochondropathy, affecting the bones of the lower extremities, which is characterized by a benign chronic course and a relatively favorable outcome;
- epiphysiolysis of the head of the bone – the destruction of bone growth zones in the area of the epiphyseal plates (cartilaginous growth plates);
- osteomyelitis and its complication – coxitis, accompanied by an inflammatory process.
Quite rarely, after complaints of the child, latent fractures are diagnosed. They are provoked by various violations of the processes of formation of bones and joints, for example, with rickets.
The main methods of treatment
The treatment of the pathology that caused it will help to permanently eliminate hip pain. Therapy of many articular and bone pathologies can take several months or years. Therefore, to improve the well-being of the patient, orthopedists, rheumatologists, traumatologists prescribe drugs with an analgesic effect. In the treatment of pathologies of the musculoskeletal system, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) with the following active ingredients are most often used:
To eliminate severe pain, NSAIDs are used in injection solutions. Their analgesic effect manifests itself several minutes after the administration of drugs. After 5-7 days of treatment, doctors replace injections with tabletted forms of NSAIDs. With severe systemic pathologies of the hip joint, for example, coxarthrosis, the patient often has to take painkillers. To minimize the likelihood of damage to the NSAIDs of the gastric mucosa, they are combined with proton pump inhibitors – Omeprazole, Pantoprazole, Esomeprazole.
The use of ointments with NSAIDs will help get rid of pulling, aching pains in the hip joint. They are applied in a thin layer and lightly rubbed into the skin. They are especially effective in pathologies accompanied by inflammation: synovitis, arthritis. After the absorption of the active ingredients, the pain is weakened, the inflammatory process and edema are stopped. A pronounced analgesic effect is characteristic of such external preparations:
Doctors often prescribe local NSAIDs to treat hip pain in order to reduce single and daily dosages of systemic drugs.
For the relief of acute inflammation, glucocorticosteroids are used – Triamcinolone, Kenalog, Diprospan, Prednisolone, Hydrocortisone, Dexamethasone.
To eliminate cutting pains, hormonal drugs are often injected directly into the joint cavity together with analgesics or anesthetics. Intra-articular injections are not used more often 3-5 times.
To enhance the therapeutic effect of drugs, physiotherapy is recommended for patients: magnetotherapy, laser therapy, electrophoresis, phonophoresis, shock wave therapy. After 5-10 sessions, the pain subsides or disappears altogether. Doctors warn that conservative methods can eliminate discomfort with timely treatment for medical attention.