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How to Deal with Thigh Pain When Sitting

by Patty Weasler, RN September 29, 2021 0 Comments

woman sitting

Does thigh pain when sitting disrupt your daily routine? If so, it’s important to identify what is causing it to rule out any serious or underlying conditions. Keep reading to learn what the most common causes are and once you’ve received a proper diagnosis, here are a few things you can try to reduce or even prevent thigh pain when sitting.

Causes of Thigh Pain When Sitting

Thigh pain that comes from sitting is different from leg pain from walking or standing. Here we will cover the unique causes of thigh pain when sitting.

Meralgia Paresthetica

Meralgia paresthetica is a condition that occurs when the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve is compressed or pinched. This nerve is in charge of sensation along the front and side of the thigh. Those who suffer from the condition report symptoms of pain, throbbing, burning, or numbness in their thighs when they sit down. Reach out to your doctor if you suspect that you have meralgia paresthetica.

Venous Insufficiency

Venous insufficiency is a blood vessel condition that can affect the veins in the legs. If you have thigh pain that begins after prolonged sitting or standing you might suffer from venous insufficiency. This condition is characterized by the leaky valves within the leg veins which prevent blood from moving properly from your legs back up to your heart. This in turn causes fluid build-up within the veins. Sufferers experience pain, swelling, burning, or cramping. This can contribute to varicose veins.


Sciatica pain feels like shooting pain that moves from the lower back down your bottom and down one of your legs. This painful condition is caused by pinching of the sciatic nerve and is often felt after sitting for long periods of time. Sitting increases the pressure on spinal discs making sciatica pain worse. Those who suffer from sciatica can find pain relief when they lay down or stand up.

More On Dealing with Sciatica Pain

Trochanteric Bursitis

The hip joint contains bursa, fluid-filled sacs that protect the bone from the soft tissues. When the bursa on the outside of the greater trochanter becomes inflamed it is called trochanteric bursitis or trochanteric pain syndrome. This inflammation is brought on by overuse or injury. People who run, cycle, or just walk are more prone to developing trochanteric bursitis. The iliotibial band (ITB) runs down the hip to the knee. When the ITB is tight it can rub against the trochanteric bursa and cause bursitis.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis is when blood clots develop within the legs. The clots can cause significant leg pain, swelling, and redness. These clots can quickly become a medical emergency if they break free from the legs. If the clots move to the lungs then it becomes a pulmonary embolism. If you suspect that you have a DVT contact your doctor immediately.

Overuse and Injury

Sometimes thigh pain when sitting is caused by something as simple as just overdoing it with your regular activities. Too much exercise, housework, or even gardening can cause you to get sore and develop tight muscles. Pain or soreness in your thigh muscles--hamstring or quadriceps might signal that you need to slow down. When you’ve been really active and then take time to sit for a while your muscles tighten up. This can lead to pain while sitting but thankfully is easily treated with some stretching and rest.

Other Causes of Thigh Pain

Common Symptoms

There are a few common symptoms of thigh pain when sitting; which include:

  • Pain
  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Aching
  • Decreased strength

More on Thigh Pain Symptoms

Remedies for Thigh Pain When Sitting

If you suffer from thigh pain when sitting the first thing you need to do is reach out to your doctor and get a proper diagnosis. With so many different causes of thigh pain, it’s important to know what is exactly causing your pain so that you can treat it correctly. Once you know what’s causing your pain, try these remedies to find relief.

Check out more ways to reduce thigh pain here.


Thigh pain caused by an injury may benefit from compression from a thigh brace or elastic wrap. The pressure from the brace or wrap will reduce swelling, promote blood flow, and give you some added support as your injury heals. It’s important to wear the brace while doing activities that might aggravate your injury but to not wear it 24/7. Look for a brace that is fully adjustable to accommodate the increase and decrease of your thigh swelling.

More on Compression Therapy


There are several over-the-counter pain relievers that can help you manage the pain in your thigh. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that reducing swelling and pain. Other pain relievers like acetaminophen don’t offer the same anti-inflammatory properties but are good at alleviating pain. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you start a new medication to avoid any unintended side effects.

Apply Heat

Heat is a great treatment of musculoskeletal pain. The warmth soothes sore muscles while increasing the blood flow to the area. Try using a heating pad or hot water bottle for 20 minutes at a time to find relief. Don’t use heat if you have swelling, blood clots, or broken blood vessels. And to prevent skin injury, never sleep with the heating pad or hot water bottle on your skin.

Heat Therapy for Injuries


If the pain in your thigh is from muscle tightness then massage may be the treatment for you. Massage uses gentle strokes and pressure to release muscle tension and reduce spasms. You will experience a sense of relaxation and calmness during and after a massage due to the positive hormone release. Avoid massages if you suffer from blood clots.

Self Massage Techniques, Tips & Tools

Take Breaks From Sitting

It’s time to stand up and take a break from sitting. Modern lifestyles have forced us onto our bottoms and sometimes it’s actually hard to remember to take breaks from the computer or TV and walk around. If you work at a computer try a standing desk to give your body a break from the constant sitting. Standing will release any pressure on the nerves that run along your hip and thigh which can ultimately reduce pain.

Use Seat Cushions

If you must sit all day then look into a seat cushion to pad your bottom. The extra padding will alleviate the pressure points by distributing pressure more uniformly over the cushion. Another option is to upgrade to an ergonomic chair. These chairs are made to correct your posture which will also reduce thigh, back, and shoulder pain.

Choosing the Best Seat Cushion

Stretch & Strengthen

Tight muscles, ligaments, and tendons causes pain in the lower and upper thigh. Stretching these muscles will improve your range of motion and lengthen the muscles, which will reduce pain. Strengthening exercises are used to work the surrounding muscles to support the joints and structures in the area. Reaching out to your local physical therapy office for support can be helpful in creating the best treatment plan for your situation.

Effective exercises for thigh pain

Sleep Posture

Your sleeping posture plays an important role in your overall health. Improper posture causes excess strain and stress on your joints resulting in pain. To protect your thighs and hips while you sleep use a pillow or blanket to support your legs. If you are a side sleeper, place a pillow between your knees. This will keep your legs aligned and prevent pulling on the outside of your thigh and hip. If you are a back sleeping, put the pillow under your knees for support.

Check Out this Resource to Learn More About Proper Sleeping Posture

How to Stop Thigh Pain at Night

Reducing Your Thigh Pain

Thigh pain when sitting can make it hard to get through your day. Talk to your doctor to get a proper diagnosis for your pain. Once you have that diagnosis then implement treatment options like heat, stretching, medication, and braces to find relief. With persistent treatment and care, you will find pain relief and be able to enjoy all the activities you love.


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Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.

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