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Upper thigh pain may occur if you strain your hamstring muscle. But sometimes, it can indicate a serious condition such as a blood clot.

Discomfort in your upper thigh, such as aching, burning, or pain, can be a common experience.

While it’s nothing to be alarmed about in most cases, there are some instances in which pain in your upper thigh can be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition.

Thigh pain can range from a mild ache to a sharp shooting sensation. It may also be accompanied by other symptoms, including:

  • itching
  • tingling
  • difficulty walking
  • numbness
  • burning sensation
  • muscle pain, strain, or soreness

Numerous conditions may contribute to upper thigh pain. They include:

1. Meralgia paresthetica

Caused by pressure on the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, meralgia paresthetica (MP) can cause tingling, numbness, and burning pain in the outer part of your thigh. It typically occurs on one side of the body.

Learn more about symptoms and treatment for meralgia paresthetica (MP).

2. Blood clot or deep vein thrombosis

While many blood clots aren’t harmful, when one forms deep in one of your major veins, it’s a serious condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). While deep vein clots appear more frequently in the lower legs, they can also form in one or both thighs.

As a result of DVT, some people develop a life threatening condition known as pulmonary embolism, in which a blood clot travels to the lungs.

Learn about the symptoms, treatment, and risk factors of DVT.

3. Diabetic neuropathy

A complication of diabetes, diabetic neuropathy occurs due to uncontrolled high blood sugar levels. It typically begins in the hands or feet, but it can also spread to other parts of the body, including the thighs.

While there is no cure for diabetic neuropathy, treatment to manage pain and other symptoms may involve lifestyle changes, measures to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, and medications for pain management.

Learn more about the symptoms ad treatment of diabetic neuropathy.

4. Greater trochanteric pain syndrome

Greater trochanteric pain syndrome can cause pain in the outside of your upper thighs. It’s typically caused by injury, pressure, or repetitive movements, and it’s common in runners and in people assigned female at birth (FAAB).

Learn about the symptoms and treatment of greater trochanteric pain syndrome.

5. IT band syndrome

Also common among runners, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) happens when the iliotibial band, which runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to below the outside of the knee, becomes tight and inflamed.

Learn more about the symptoms of iliotibial band syndrome and exercises that can help you get relief.

6. Muscle strains

While muscle strains can happen in any part of the body, they’re common in the hamstring and may cause thigh pain.

Learn about the symptoms and treatment of muscle strain.

One example of a muscle strain is a hip flexor muscle strain, which can happen from overuse. Learn more about the symptoms and treatment of hip flexor strains.

7. Ischial bursitis

Ischial bursitis is a condition in which there’s pressure on the cushioning sac between the tendons and bones in your joint. It can cause upper thigh pain in the back of your leg. Symptoms will usually develop after exercise or after you’ve been sitting for a long time.

Learn more about ischial bursitis.

8. Arthritis

Arthritis can affect many different joints in the body. There are also many types of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis of the hip, for example, can cause pain in your groin and upper thigh. Sometimes knee arthritis pain can also radiate up the thigh.

Learn more about the treatment and symptoms of hip osteoarthritis (OA).

9. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)

You can experience upper thigh pain with peripheral arterial disease, in which blood flow through your arteries is blocked. It commonly occurs in people with type 2 diabetes.

Learn about the symptoms and treatment of peripheral arterial disease

Thigh pain can be anywhere above, within, or below the joint. The pain can be related to the joint or stem from a compressed nerve, for example.

Diagnosis for most conditions that contribute to thigh pain will involve a physical examination by a physician who will evaluate the risk factors and symptoms.

They may also order some tests to determine the underlying cause. These include:

If you need help finding a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.

In most cases, thigh pain can be treated with home remedies such as:

However, if those measures don’t give you relief after several days or more severe symptoms accompany the pain, you should seek medical treatment. Physical therapy, prescription medications, and surgery may sometimes be required.

If your pain comes on suddenly, there’s no apparent cause, or it doesn’t respond to home treatments such as ice, heat, and rest, you should seek medical treatment.

The most severe complication of thigh pain is typically related to DVT, which can be life threatening if the clot breaks off and moves to the lungs. You can also lose a limb if you have untreated PAD.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical treatment:

Why do my upper thigh and hip hurt?

Different conditions can cause hip and thigh pain. Learn about the causes of hip pain, including some that also cause thigh pain.

What causes pain in the upper inner thigh and groin?

You can get inner thigh pain near your groin from many conditions that cause upper thigh pain. Other causes include a hernia, pregnancy, or kidney stones.

Learn about the causes of inner thigh pain.

In most cases, upper thigh pain is not a cause for concern. It can typically be treated at home with simple strategies such as ice, heat, activity moderation, and over-the-counter medication.

However, if those don’t work after several days or if more serious symptoms accompany the thigh pain, it’s essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible.