Inner thigh pain while running

Updated March 23, 2017

For many people, running is a relaxing and enjoyable sport. But when the sport causes aches and pains, it becomes quite challenging to keep those legs moving. Common running injuries include injury to the feet, ankles or knees. Occasionally, runners might also experience pain in the thighs. A variety of different factors can cause inner thigh pain while running.

Overuse injury

According to the Cool Running website, a runner who experiences pain in the inner thigh muscle is likely suffering from a groin strain caused by overuse. The adductor muscles are located on the inside of your thigh, connecting the femur bone to the pelvic bone. These muscles are responsible for bringing your legs together and pulling in the toes. They can easily become damaged during the repetitive motions of running. As your muscles stretch beyond their limits, small tears occur along them. As a result, the area swells and pain begins radiating around the location of the injury.

Foot imbalance

An imbalance of the foot might also lead to groin strain. These imbalances might include over supination or ove pronation. If you oversupinate while running, your foot rolls outward, and most of your body weight is placed on the outside of the foot. On the other hand, if you overpronate while running, the foot rolls inward, and most of the body weight lands on the inside of the foot. With either condition, your foot is less able to absorb shock, and the adductor muscles in your thigh attempt to maintain balance by tightening up. Over time, this tensing action wears on the muscle, causing strain.

Skin chafing

If the inner thigh pain occurs on the surface of the skin, you might be experience a problem with chafing. As explained by The Walking Site website, chafing occurs “as a result of sweating and friction from body parts rubbing together”. As you run, the inner thighs repeatedly rub against each other. Eventually, the skin becomes irritated. As time passes, the skin on your inner thigh becomes red, swollen and extremely painful. If you continue to run, the skin might break.


The popular RICE method is crucial for treating inner thigh pain caused by a groin strain or foot imbalance. This method involves rest, ice, compression and elevation. Rest the muscle immediately after the injury occurs. Do not return to running until the swelling and pain subside. While resting, ice the area for 15 to 20 minute intervals every two or three hours. Wrapping a compression bandage around the thigh can also help with swelling and pain relief. While resting, lay on your back and elevate the inner thigh above the heart.


According to the Stretching Institute website, a proper warm-up is essential to prevent groin strain. The website goes on to explain that the “four key elements of the warm up” include a general warm-up of walking or jogging, static stretching, slightly more intense running and dynamic stretching. If your inner thigh pain is caused by a foot imbalance, speak with a podiatrist to determine whether you might need orthotics. Prevent skin chafing of the inner thighs by lubricating the inner thighs with petroleum jelly or a specialised runner’s lubricant. You might also dust the inner thighs with talcum powder to keep them dry.

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