There are several causes of leg pain. Here we will address the ones that massage therapy is most helpful with. We often see patients who complain of pain that travels down the leg, in the back, front, inside or outside of the thigh. Or, the pain may appear in one particular area, such as the outside of the lower leg. When the pain has a sharp or burning character to it, we are usually dealing with irritation or compression of a spinal nerve.
- Sciatic Nerve Neuralgia
- Femoral Nerve Neuralgia
- Tibal Nerve Neuralgia
- Obturator Nerve Neuralgia
You will find more information on those conditions in our section on nerve pain.
Active trigger points in skeletal muscles are another common cause of leg pain. Active trigger points can cause significant pain that usually has an aching character to it. The pain from an active trigger point may also refer to other, nearby places.
Anterior and Medial Thigh Pain
Trigger points in the anterior and middle thigh muscles can cause pain that radiates into the groin, down the front of the thigh. Active trigger points in the adductor longus and vastus medialis muscles can also cause knee buckling as an additional symptom.
Posterior Thigh Pain
The hamstring group consists of the biceps femoris, semitendinosis and semimembranosis muscles. Trigger points in these muscles can cause pain below the buttocks that radiates down the back of the leg. The lower trigger points can also create posterior knee pain.
Various trigger points found in the anterior and posterior leg muscles can create a variety of symptoms that cause pain in the lower leg as well as the foot. Active trigger points in the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles can create pain that is mistaken for Plantar Fasciitis or Achilles’ Tendonitis. Calf cramping is another symptom created by these trigger points.
Lateral Thigh Pain
Pain on the outside of the leg may be cause by trigger points found in the vastus lateralis muscle (a member of the quadriceps group), the tensor fasciae late muscle (this muscle is continuous with the IT Band on the outside of the leg), or the gluteus minimus muscle. Active trigger points in the gluteus minimus muscle cause pain that is similar, yet less severe, than Sciatica.