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Causes of Burning Pain in the Back of the Thigh

by
author image Erica Roth
Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.
Causes of Burning Pain in the Back of the Thigh
Causes of Burning Pain in the Back of the Thigh Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

On an average day, most people experience minor aches and pains of some kind. Burning pain tends to be a sensation that gets your attention, whether you are in the middle of your running workout or sitting at your desk. Burning pain in the back of your thigh often points to nerve pain and should be checked out by your doctor.

Meralgia Paresthetica

Meralgia paresthetica is the technical term for burning pain that affects the outside of the thigh. Burning thigh pain, as the condition is commonly called, is the result of the compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, or LFCN, in your leg, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. This sensory nerve is one of the largest in your legs. If the nerve is compressed through injury or accident, you could experience tingling; numbness; or burning in your thigh, groin and buttocks. Usually you'll experience the burning in only one leg. Rest is beneficial and may resolve the compression. Severe cases may require corticosteroid injections to reduce the inflammation of the nerve in order to get the burning sensation to stop.

Sciatica

Sciatica is another form of nerve compression that can lead to burning in the back of your thigh. Your sciatic nerve runs from your buttocks down the back of your leg. Common reasons for compression include a slipped disk that presses on the nerve, the additional weight of pregnancy and sometimes just sitting for long periods of time without a break. Symptoms of sciatica include an aching or burning pain that can be confined to your buttocks or extends down the back of your leg. Taking frequent breaks from sitting can relieve burning thigh pain from sciatica. Physical therapy, medication injections and surgery may also repair disk problems that contribute to the discomfort.

Hamstring Injuries

You may feel aching or burning in the back of your thigh if you've suffered a hamstring injury. The hamstrings are the muscle group located in the back of your thigh; straining or tearing the muscle can be very painful. The Sports Injury Bulletin explains that hamstring strains tend to manifest themselves through bruising, localized swelling and tenderness in the rear of the thigh. Burning pain may accompany the muscle strain if there is also nerve involvement.

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