Whether you are a runner, participate in other sports, like to garden or work around the house or if your job requires prolonged sitting inner thigh pain is a common complaint in all types of activity.

So what causes the pain and how to prevent and minimize the pain?

First of all, hip pain is not heredity. Hip pain is caused by dysfunctional or improper movement of the hip joint.


This places stress and strain within the joint itself, the surrounding muscles and other structures of the hip.

This creates a cycle of pain, strains, inflammation of the muscles and the hip joint, which changes in the way the hip moves, which causes more or at least continued pain. Break this cycle by determining what is causing the dysfunction in the hip.

The site of the pain is not necessarily the site of the dysfunction or problem.

First we have to look at the starting position of the hip joint and its surrounding structures.

If the starting position is not neutral the abnormal position will be magnified during movement, especially with walking and even more with running or impact activities.

Think of the hip joint this way, make a fist with one hand then place your other hand over that fist. The fist represents the head of the femur, (thigh bone), and the other hand is the acetabulum or hip socket.

Rub the fist against the other hand and that’s what can happen within the hip joint thus causing pain.

Improper position of the pelvis and hip

Most common inner thigh pain causes2

The pelvis, hip and event low back work together. The head of the thigh bone, (femur), and the acetabulum of the pelvis make up the ball-and-socket joint of the hip. Abnormal or incorrect positions of the pelvis increase the stress through the hip joint.

In the anterior tilt position the structures of the front of the hip are shortened and can be compressed whereas the back of the hip structures are over lengthen or stretched.

The same is true in a posterior tilted pelvis except the roles are reversed with regards to the structures of the front and back of the hip. In a posterior tilt the front structures are over lengthen or stretched and the back structures are compressed and shortened.

Internally or externally rotated femur

Another position that contributes to inner thigh pain is the femur or thigh bone position. If the femur is rotated internally or inward, the inner thigh muscles are shortened and can compress their attachments in the groin.

The outer thigh muscles are stretched and over lengthened. On the opposite, if the femur is externally rotated, the inner thigh muscles are on a constantly stretch or lengthened position and the outer thigh muscles are shortened.

In the abnormal positions reviewed above the muscles of the hip will not perform the way they should. If not addressed and corrected these will cause straining of the muscles, joint compression within the hip, eventual deterioration of the hip joint and the femur and of course causes pain.

These positions need to be corrected first in order to correct muscle length deficits, muscle activation and neuromuscular input to the muscles to work properly.

Muscle strains

The inner thigh muscles are collectively referred to as the adductor muscles because they adduct or pull the thigh inward towards the center of the body.

However, some of the muscles that attach in the inner thigh and groin also flex the thigh and rotate the femur and can cause pain if strained. The adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, pectineous, and gracilius move the leg inward.

The psoas flexes the hip and is commonly used to compensate hip movements when the other muscles cannot perform as they should. These muscles can strain particularly in running, quick starts and stops, and in activities that require turning or quick changes in direction.


This is caused when structures within the hip joint are compressed such as the cartilage, (cushion of the hip), or labrum, (provides a suction action to maintain joint position).

As previously discussed if the pelvis in tilted forward and the femur, (thigh bone), is rotated inward or outward, when the hip moves the cartilage or labrum within the joint can get compressed or pinched between the bone because of the improper position of the bones.

Inguinal, (groin), hernia

This hernia occurs when the internal organs begin pushing against the muscles and fascia in the groin area. In this case, you may feel a bulge in the groin.

Hernias can be caused by heavy lifting, repetitive deep coughing causing increased pressure in the area or by weakened soft tissues’ ability to maintain support and tension.


This is a degenerative condition of the hip joint. This degeneration occurs over time from the bones of the ball-and-socket joint of the hip repetitively rubbing together.

This deterioration is a process that occurs over time often with other signs and symptoms presenting themselves before the actual onset of osteoarthritis such as soreness, pain, guarding and limping.

Kidney stones

If the other conditions above have been ruled out another consideration is kidney stones. More often other signs and symptoms will be experienced for this besides inner thigh pain but it should be mentioned.

The last condition to mention is Bursitis 

Although bursitis can occur in the hip it is unlikely that inner thigh pain is from bursitis of the hip. Typically bursitis pain will be in the back of the hip or on the outer side of the hip where the bursa are located.

For Muscle Strains, Impingement and Osteoarthritis ice is recommended to control pain and inflammation but an evaluation from a professional trained and educated in the hip should be completed.

This will help with early intervention to prevent deterioration or other problems developing with the hip. The other conditions need additional evaluation by a physician to correctly identify and rule out other health/medical conditions.

Keep in mind, as with any area, the sight of the pain may not be the actual site of the problem but is a sign and/or symptoms letting you know there is a problem.

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
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Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


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