Posterior thigh pain Part 1 ‘What have I done?’

Identifying the source of your symptoms can save you years of pain and suboptimal training.
Ashleigh Flanagan
January 10, 2022

One of the most common presentations I see is posterior thigh pain. Depending on the source of symptoms, the management of posterior thigh pain, especially in the early stages, can be very different. While there are just a handful of common reasons for pain in this area, they can occur concurrently or the mechanism behind the symptoms can change over time, which can make management tricky.

Rehabilitation is required for the resolution of any posterior thigh pain and extended rest is never best, but unless you (and your health professional) recognise the source of your symptoms, recovery can be drawn out. It’s not uncommon for me to meet clients that have posterior thigh pain that limits their training for YEARS. It honestly shouldn’t be this way. In generally posterior thigh pain is very ‘treatable’.

In this first post, I’ll briefly outline the most common reasons for posterior thigh pain, the usual mechanism of injury, signs and symptoms.

Posterior thigh pain Part 1 ‘What have I done?’

Acute Posterior Thigh Pain

The length of time you have experienced symptoms can help determine the source of your symptoms. Tissue damage will naturally repair over time and different tissues have different healing capacities. Acute means that the symptoms are new (less than approx. 2 months).  Remember this list isn’t exhaustive, these are just the common presentations.

Chronic Posterior Thigh Pain

After a few months, pain is classified as chronic. Some conditions improve slowly over time so make both lists because of the time it takes for tissues to heal completely and for their capacity to be restored. Other presentations will fluctuate but remain largely unchanged over time because underlying reasons for the presentation remains unresolved. The longer pain lasts the more likely conditions will present concurrently or that the cause of the symptoms will change over time.

What else could it be?

These are common presentations that are particularly prevalent amongst active individuals. You should always listen to your body. Pain itself isn’t dangerous and shouldn’t be feared, but it’s a way that your body communicates a need for change. Severe pain, unexplained pain lasting for more than a week to 10 days, pain that impacts your function, ability to work or sleep, or pain with other symptoms such as fatigue, weight fluctuations, fever, malaise or bladder/ bowel changes should be reviewed by a professional health care provider.

Next post in this series we will be looking at the Management of muscle pain including DOMS, strains and tears.

Check out these related blog posts:

Have I Injured Myself Stretching? I think I'm injured. What should I do now? 

Stretching and Injury Risk There are risks associated with any form of exercise, but less risk than inactivity. 

Pain and Stretching Think pain means you are stretching incorrectly? Read on! 

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