Patients suffering from thigh pain often seek physiotherapy, especially if they’re involved in sport. Pain may be caused by local structures within the thigh, or may be referred from other sources (such as the lower back, hip or knee).

Sudden onset thigh pain often occurs in athletes or individuals involved in fast moving sports, kicking sports and those sports which involve rapid acceleration and deceleration (such as squash, tennis, football, soccer and basketball). The most common cause of sudden onset pain in the front of the thigh is a quadriceps strain, whilst the most common cause of sudden onset pain in the back of the thigh is a hamstring strain. In those patients with associated back, hip, buttock or knee pain, referred pain (frequently from the back, hip or sacroiliac joint) is often the cause of symptoms.

There are numerous other causes of thigh pain, some of which present suddenly due to a specific incident, others which develop gradually over time.

Below are some of the more common causes of thigh pain with a brief description of each condition to aid thigh pain diagnosis. Conditions have been organised according to sudden or gradual onset and common or less common conditions for ease of use.

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