When crossing your legs, you contract and flex your upper thigh and hip flexor muscles in order to bring one leg over the other while in a seated position. Feeling pain in this area of your body while attempting to cross your legs might be a sign of injury or a chronic medical condition of the joint. Pain can differ in severity when completing this simple leg and hip movement, ranging from mild soreness to sharp pains, depending on your condition.
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Anterior Thigh Pain
Anterior thigh pain, or pain on the front of your upper leg, can stem from many causes and be present when attempting to cross your legs. According to Joseph D. Kurnik of Dynamic Chiropractic, anterior thigh pain might be caused by a neuromuscular injury, or a condition related to the nerves stemming from your lumbar spine. This cause is even more likely when you have not recently injured or bruised your leg or otherwise harmed your muscle in any way. Irritation of the facet joints in your lumbar spine can add pressure to the associated nerves and translate into upper thigh pain, especially when flexing the hip joint.
Another possible cause of pain in your thigh or hip joint when attempting to cross your legs is sciatica. According to the Sciatica-Pain.org website, the posture of crossing your legs might add pressure to the sciatic nerve, which runs under your hip and buttocks and into your upper thigh. While crossing your legs will not cause the onset of this condition, it can irritate the nerve further, especially when seated in this position for a prolonged period.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, a muscle strain is a common injury that many people, especially athletes, can experience at some point. Strains can occur in practically any muscle and cause a great deal of pain, especially shortly after the injury. Crossing your legs while having an upper thigh or hip muscle strain can be exceedingly painful due to your need to contract these muscles to complete the motion.
If you are experiencing pain in your thigh muscle or hip joint while attempting to cross your legs, you might want to hold off on performing this movement or sitting in this posture until your pain subsides or your condition heals. Depending on the severity of your condition or the cause of your pain, this period of rest can range from a few days to a few weeks. If the pain does not ease after rest, see your doctor.