A severe pain in thigh and knee can have an adverse effect on your normal leg movements. Read this article to find out about the causes and treatment for thigh and knee pain.
The upper thigh joint and the knee joint are two of the most vital joints of your body. They lie on either end of the thigh bones and support the entire body weight when you are on your feet. They also help in making movements like walking, running, and jumping. When the thigh joint or the knee joint gets injured due to some reason, you experience pain in thigh or / and knee. The intensity of the pain largely depends on the underlying causes.
Causes of Thigh and Knee Pain
The cartilage tissues of the knee and hip joints prevent the thigh bone from getting rubbed against the other bones present in those joints.
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a disease that causes degeneration of these cartilages. As a result, friction occurs between the bones at the joints and they become stiff and painful. Elderly people are mostly affected by this disease.
- Bursitis: Bursa is a fluid filled sac present in the body joints and facilitate cushioning of the bones. Inflammation in the bursa of the knees is known as knee bursitis that gives pain above the knee. This pain is experienced at night which intensifies in some specific sleeping positions.
- Excessive Stress: The thigh muscles can suffer injury because of overuse, or after a strenuous physical activity. In such cases, the muscle fibers are either pulled or minor tears develop on them. This results in sharp muscle pain which is felt in the thigh and knee. The kind of injury mostly affects the hamstring muscles that run from the buttock area to the knees. Athletes are prone to hamstring injury as they overstretch their steps while running.
- Fractures: Fracture in the thigh bone is another cause that can give rise to painful thigh and knee. It usually happens because of traumatic injury like a bad fall. Sometimes, elderly people get fractured thigh bone due to degeneration of bone structure with aging.
- Herniated Disc: When a herniated disc of the spine is pressed against the sciatic nerve, a sharp lower back pain is experienced that radiates through the nerves to the back of the thigh and knee. Usually, this tingling nerve pain is felt on one leg. That means, if the bulging disc is located at the right side of the spine, then there is pain in the right thigh and knee. On the other hand, when it is on the left, the upper part of the left leg gets affected.
- Rest: The first step of treating this painful condition is to keep the legs at rest. This will give the injury enough scope to heal up on its own. Moreover, it reduces the chances of any further injury.
- Ice/Heat Pack: The choice between ice and heat packs is based on the effect they have on pain. While ice numbs the pain and reduces inflammation, the application of heat loosens stiff muscles and relaxes the joints. Ice application has proved to be beneficial for bringing down the pain by numbing the pain sensation, and reducing inflammation in the area. Heat packs can reduce muscle tension and give them flexibility.
- Medication: In those cases, where the pain is unbearable, pain killers are used for pain management. Make sure you talk to your doctor, before taking any such medicines. Stronger dose of pain relieving medicines or cortisone injections are prescribed to reduce severe pain caused by osteoarthritis or bursitis.
- Cast: To fix up the fracture in thigh bone, use of a cast is recommended.
- Physical Therapy: As the pain goes down, physical therapy and muscle strengthening exercises play a major role in faster recovery.
- Surgery: Severe cases of osteoarthritis may require joint replacement surgery. Similarly, worst cases of sciatica need surgery too, where the herniated disc is surgically removed.
- Regular Exercise: The pain in thigh and knee is annoying but it can be prevented. Keep the muscles in the area strong and flexible with the help of regular thigh exercises. Before any strenuous physical activities, you must do some warm up exercises to stretch these muscles, and thus reduce the chances of any injury in them.
- Normal Weight: Maintain a healthy body weight to ease the pressure from the lower part of the body. Eating healthy nutritious food is equally important for strengthening the joint structures.
Rest and ice application should bring down the intensity of the pain within the first 48 hours. If you do not see any signs of improvement, then see a doctor for further treatment. They diagnose the cause with the help of physical examination and laboratory tests, such as X-rays, and then carry out the treatment accordingly.
This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.