Common Causes Of Thigh Muscle Pain
Thigh muscle pain is most often experienced by athletes as muscles, tendons, or ligaments are stretched, bruised, torn, or simply stressed. The muscles most commonly affected are two fairly large muscles, the hamstrings in the back or posterior of the leg and thigh, and the quadriceps in the front or anterior of the leg or thigh.
Thigh muscle pain can be the result of strain, or of a contusion, a traumatic blow to the muscle. Tendinitis can also be a cause of thigh muscle pain, even though it is the tendon, and not the muscle, which is really the source of the problem. Another source of thigh muscle pain is bursitis; however strains and contusions remain the chief causes of this condition. The most common symptom of bursitis is pain experienced when stretching the hamstring or flexing the knee against resistance. Pain may not appear during activity, but following, and may become more severe when sitting.
Thigh Muscle Tightness - Muscle tightness can at times be a precursor to injuries and subsequent thigh muscle pain. Tight muscles, whether the hamstrings or quadriceps are involved, can easily lead to strained or torn muscles, particularly in the course of an athletic event. Even if muscle injuries do not occur, tight muscles, particularly in the hamstring muscles, can create pain, not only in the thigh muscles, but in the back as well, and even affect one's posture. Sometimes tight muscles are a genetic condition. Some are born with hamstring muscles that are on the short side, and some people are naturally more supple than others. Women for example, generally have less of a problem with tight hamstring or quadriceps muscles than do men. Those who have naturally tighter muscles in the thighs and legs usually must pay greater attention to warming up and stretching before engaging in strenuous physical activity or athletic events, and stretching again once the physical activity comes to a close.
Running And Jumping, Causes Of Muscle Problems - Thigh muscle pain caused by an injury to the quadriceps, most often involves the Rectus femorus, a muscle which crosses both the hip and knee joints, and is the one most susceptible to strains or contusions. Sprinters and soccer players have the greatest chance of incurring thigh muscle pain from this type of injury. The pain is usually felt above the knee, where the muscle joins the tendon.
Since the hamstring serves to flex the knee and move the thigh backwards, sprinting and jumping are also leading causes of hamstring sprains or tears. Sprinters especially need to warm up well and stretch before participating in their events, where they go from a dead standstill to placing extreme stress on the thigh muscles in a fraction of a second. A tight hamstring is very apt to suffer an injury in such a situation. A severe hamstring pull or tear not only is a cause of extreme thigh muscle pain, but can be a career ending injury for athletes in some cases.
Classes Of Injuries - Pulled hamstring or quadriceps muscles are usually placed in three classes, from mild to severe, with a Class I pull or strain being the mildest, and one from which recovery generally takes place in a few days or weeks, to a Class III pull in which the muscle is badly torn and healing and rehabilitation can take months. Athletes who suffer Class III pulls often run a high risk of injuring the affected muscle again at some future time.
Don't Be A Hero - As a general rule, one of the worst things one can do when experiencing thigh muscle pain is to try to work through it. Unless the condition is very mild, attempting to work through the pain can often result in damaging a muscle or tendon even more. At the very least, a thorough warm up, accompanied by gentle stretching should precede strenuous physical activity, followed by a cool down and additional stretching. Massaging and gently stretching a thigh muscle that may tighten up is also recommended.