Posterior Thigh Pain Part 2 - Management of Muscle Pain

Unless you recognise the source of your posterior thigh pain your recovery can be drawn out and suboptimal.
Ashleigh Flanagan
January 19, 2022

One of the most common presentations I see is posterior thigh pain. However, 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, making management tricky.

Rehabilitation is required to resolve most 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 general, posterior thigh pain is very ‘treatable’.

The first post in this series briefly outlined the most common reasons for posterior thigh pain. Read the blog here.

This post will focus on management if the source of your posterior thigh pain is muscular.

Posterior thigh pain Part 2 - Management of Muscle Pain

Posterior thigh pain is most commonly related to one of the hamstring muscles (semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris) or adductor muscles (usually adductor magnus, gracilis). Luckily pain related to these muscles doesn’t always mean that you have damaged a muscle, but appropriate management means making an early educated call.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

DOMS is muscular pain that occurs after intense training that peaks 24-48 hrs post-workout and resolves completely within 3-5 days. The exact mechanism behind this phenomenon is not entirely understood, but the pain is likely a symptom of increased inflammation in response to the workout demands. As DOMS is not felt during the workout or for some time after, it’s not best explained by damage, trauma or lactic acid. 

It’s most likely DOMS if;

What to do:

Be aware:

Muscle strain

A muscle strain is a clinical diagnosis of muscle pain that reflects a low likelihood of muscle tear but recognises probable micro-trauma to the muscle. Simply, You probably haven’t torn the muscle, but it’s injured and requires healing (In contrast, with DOMS the muscle isn’t injured, so doesn’t require time to heal.)

It’s most likely a strain if;

What to do:

Be aware:

Muscle tear

A muscle tear means that muscle fibres have been damaged, and the integrity and function of the muscle are impaired. A muscle tear can usually be seen on a scan, but often low-grade tears are diagnosed clinically according to the presenting signs and symptoms.

It’s most likely a tear if:

What to do:

Be aware:

Want to learn more? Check out these related blog posts!

Stretching and Injury Risk

Stretching and flexibility training are actually relatively low-risk forms of exercise compared with things like team sports and running. 

Pain and Stretching

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

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