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Thigh and hip pain often occur together because many of the muscles of the thigh and hip are connected or at least work in conjunction with each other. Nerves, too, run through both areas of the body, potentially causing thigh and hip pain that may be sharp, shooting, or even numb or tingling. The sciatic nerve runs through the back of the thighs and into the hips, so compression of this nerve can lead to pain or limited mobility in the thigh and hip. Sometimes pain in one area of the body can cause pain in another area because the uninjured area of the body will end up supporting the body when the injured area cannot.
One of the more common causes of thigh and hip pain is sciatica, which occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed. The sciatic nerve runs down the back of each leg, and it starts in the lower back, which means it also runs through the buttocks and hips. The sciatic nerve can become compressed anywhere along its length by tight muscles, joint problems, and even a herniated disc in the spine, and the pain is not always felt in the area that is compressing the nerve. The pain can occur anywhere along the length of the nerve, so thigh and hip pain can occur at the same time or independently when the nerve is compressed or damaged.
Hip bursitis is a common type of thigh and hip pain that can spread throughout much of the leg. This occurs when the bursa, which is a thin sac that cushions bones, tendons, muscles, or ligaments within a joint, becomes inflamed. This usually occurs in athletic people or people who move a lot during the day. When the bursa becomes inflamed, one will feel pain in the hips, which may cause a person to alter his or her normal walking gait. This can lead to excess strain on the muscles of the legs, which can in turn cause thigh and hip pain.
Direct trauma and injuries is one of the more common causes of thigh and hip pain. Fractures are some of the more serious injuries, and they require a significant amount of time to heal. They may even require surgery in more severe cases. Muscle strains and ruptures can also cause moderate to intense pain in the thigh and hips, and while most muscle strains heal on their own given significant rest, ruptures will very often require surgery.