Your thighs are home to three large muscle groups. In the front portion are the quadriceps, four muscles that help to extend and straighten the lower leg. On the back of your thighs are the hamstrings, three muscles that bring the leg backward and help you flex the lower leg toward your buttocks. On the outer and inner thigh are your abductors and adductors, which help you kick your leg to the side and bring it back in.
Whether due to intense exercise, sitting in the same position for some time or deconditioning of your muscles, you can experience sore thighs that make walking difficult, if not painful. You can relieve this muscle soreness through special techniques.
Begin each workout with a five- to 10-minute walking warmup to help prevent muscle soreness. End each workout with a five- to 10-minute stretching session that includes leg stretches to prevent muscle tightness and soreness.
Ice Your Sore Thighs
Apply an ice pack to areas where you experience sore muscles. To help the ice pack stay on the thigh, place the covered ice pack on the sore area and wrap an athletic bandage around the thigh and ice pack to help it stay in place. Alternate keeping the ice pack on and off in 10- to 15-minute intervals for a period of two to three hours.
Massage the area affected by thigh pain. Sports massage techniques for the thigh include pushing your hands from the knee up the thigh toward your hips to relieve muscle tension. Transition to placing a hand on either side of your thigh and using rotating motions. Next, use circular motions with your hands to target any areas of pain. If you feel knots in your muscles, place a thumb on that area and knead gently until you feel the knot go away.
Prop it Up
Elevate your leg by placing pillows underneath your heel. This helps to relieve inflammation by sending blood flow away from the thigh to reduce swelling.
Take Some Meds
If approved by your doctor, take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, which can reduce swelling and minimize pain. Take these as directed until thigh pain subsides.
Get Some Rest
Refrain from exercising until your muscle soreness subsides. Exercising on extremely sore muscles can contribute to increased risk for muscle tear and strain. You can, however, engage in light stretching for the thigh, such as pulling the foot toward your buttocks and crossing one leg over the other knee and leaning forward to stretch the sore thighs.
In some instances, muscle soreness can indicate you have experienced a thigh muscle strain. Look at your thigh closely for signs of injury such as bruising or tenderness to the touch. If you identify these areas, rest your muscles and use at-home techniques to reduce pain. If the pain does not resolve itself, see a physician.