Sore inner thighs are among the most difficult areas to remedy because these muscles are very sensitive. They are used in nearly every motion, which makes inner thigh pain especially noticeable. Luckily, several treatment options exist.
Causes of Inner Thigh Pain
The inner thigh is most often associated with the groin muscles, but the abductors also sit in this region. Soreness caused by exercise is often felt in one or both of these muscle groups. Stretching and tearing in the muscles will ultimately help them grow, but the initial lactic acid released in the days following a workout causes the pain associated with soreness during the workout recovery cycle.
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There's a distinct difference between soreness and injury, though. This distinction is worth noting because the remedies for soreness are much different from the processes required to repair mild and serious injuries. A groin strain, for example, is a mild injury that is often mistaken for soreness.
Distinguishing between soreness and injuries requires time. The soreness will slowly fade over the course of several days, while an injury will remain.
If the sore inner thigh remains unchanged and the pain level is higher than normal, you may have an injury. A strain may only require rest, but more serious injuries can require medical treatment. If you believe the area is injured, consult a professional to pursue treatment options.
Stretching to Relieve Soreness
The presence of soreness is uncomfortable, and adding movements increases the level of discomfort. For this reason, stretching and moving is counter-intuitive, but some movement is necessary to expedite the removal of lactic acid from the muscles.
Start with light stretching to loosen up the muscles, and complete a low intensity workout to move your groin and abductors without adding additional strain. Take a walk, do a few sets of squats without weight or resistance, and even consider a light jog to work out that lactic acid. The exercise may be uncomfortable initially, but it helps with the healing process.
After stretching and exercising lightly, move into a period of rest and recovery that involves massaging and sleep to help your body recover and prepare for the next hard workout.
Read more: How to Ease Muscle Soreness After a Workout
Rest Your Muscles
Stretching and exercising are important for reducing inner thigh pain from soreness, but adequate rest is equally important. Continuing to exercise and pushing the limits of your muscles without recovering first may lead to injury. Overexertion is a common cause of injuries, and proper rest can prevent this scenario while allowing the muscles to repair and strengthen naturally.
The best rest happens while you are sleeping. Getting a full night of uninterrupted rest is important to the recovery process. Move normally throughout the day and make sure to move around every hour to keep working out the lactic acid — but focus on resting comfortably as well.
In cases of extreme soreness in the inner thigh area, resting with your legs elevated will help the muscles recover. Limited and highly restricted movement, however, will require a longer period of time for the recovery.
Hot and Cold Compresses
Altering between hot and cold packs is a method proven over many years of athletics. Many college and professional sports teams even provide ice baths to help athletes recover from sore muscles and mild injuries.
At home, taking an ice bath is not always an option, and the bath is a little extreme for most people. Gel cold packs or even a frozen bag of peas held against the inner thigh with light pressure for 20 minutes every couple of hours will reduce inflammation and help settle the soreness, as Johns Hopkins Medicine points out. You can even wrap the cold pack with an elastic compress bandage to hold everything in place.
Heat also helps to relax the muscles, and alternating between hot and cold will relax your muscles, reducing any swelling and inflammatory issues. Hot compress packs are available for purchase and many models are quick to heat in a microwave.
You can, however, make your own for free by heating water with a cloth. Wrap the hot cloth in plastic wrap or place it in a plastic bag to seal the moisture; cover it with another dry cloth to press against your skin.
Read more: Sore Muscles? 8 Tips to Ease Pain
The inner thighs are a sensitive area and having someone else massage this area isn't always an option. If you don't mind having a masseuse work the sore inner thigh area, this option is a good idea — especially in extreme cases of soreness that require quick remedies to recover for an athletic event.
Another option is self-massage, which may help relieve the pain, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Use your thumb to press directly on the sore areas and knead the muscles. This will help loosen the area and relieve some soreness caused by lactic acid buildup. A few minutes of massaging is enough to work a little bit of the soreness out, but massages are unlike to completely remedy the muscles.
It never hurts to execute a self-massage on any sore muscle group that is reachable. The thighs, calves and arm muscles are all potential candidates for a quick and easy massage without hiring a therapist.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Drink plenty of water to hydrate the muscles and flush out toxins. Simple hydration can help you recover at a faster pace. Go ahead and put down a few liters — or a comfortable amount — of water throughout the day to help things along. Make hydration a priority before workouts as well to function as a preventative measure for soreness.
A rather oddball way to reduce soreness is drinking cherry juice. No sugar, just the tart cherry juice. According to a May 2010 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the high concentration of antioxidants in this juice may relieve sore muscles. The study focused on competitive runners, but the same principles apply to anyone experiencing this issue.
Additionally, numerous recovery supplement drinks are available to help with soreness. Natural remedies work well for most individuals, but anyone pushing the limits on a regular basis might consider a supplement packed with natural vitamins and ingredients. The options are overwhelming, so do your research and study the ingredient list before testing a recovery drink.
- Mayo Clinic: "Muscle Pain Causes"
- NCBI: Journal of Applied Physiology: "Muscle Damage and Inflammation During Recovery From Exercise"
- NCBI: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: "Efficacy of Tart Cherry Juice in Reducing Muscle Pain During Running"
- TeensHealth From Nemours: "Groin Strain"
- Arthritis Foundation: "Self-Massage Relieves Arthritis Pain and Stress"
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Ice Packs vs. Warm Compress for Pain"
- Saint Alphonsus Rehabilitation Services: "What Can You Do About Groin Pain?"