A woman holding her thigh in pain

How To Deal With Thigh Pain When Sitting

Having thigh pain while sitting down can be difficult.

This article addresses this challenge with methods of relief.



“Why does my leg hurt when I sit down?” It’s a common question that many healthcare professionals face from patients.

The truth is that most people will experience aches in their lower extremities at some point. It is a common complaint with a variety of causes and symptoms.

Fortunately, just as many treatment and prevention options are available for people who suffer from leg pain while sitting.


Let's begin by looking at some major causes of leg pain when sitting.

A man sitting down holding his lower back in pain


Leg pain can come from a pinched nerve like the sciatic nerve in your lower spine and spread downward to the lower half of your body.

This sensation can range from bad cramps to sharp pain in the inner thigh when sitting. Or it may present as aching from the back to the ankle or pain in the back of the thigh when sitting.

This nerve problem may come from slipped or herniated discs, vertebrae, or muscle spasms.

A condition called spinal stenosis, which happens when the spaces between the bones in your spine get narrow, may also be the culprit of sciatic pain when it comes to pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the legs.

A man sitting down holding his thigh in pain

Muscle Strain

When muscles get stretched too far, it can cause intense pain in the thighs when sitting or standing or in other muscle groups.

People who play sports are more at risk of this type of injury where overexertion is common. The onset of this pain is immediate, and the area is tender to the touch.

A man holding his thigh in pain

Nerve Compression

Nerve compression happens when the surrounding tissue, bone, or cartilage exerts too much nerve pressure. Muscles and tendons can also compress nerves and cause pain.

A pinched nerve will often go away independently with over-the-counter painkillers and rest. However, chronic pain develops in some cases and can leave a sufferer with back and thigh pain from sitting.

A graphic of a person’s leg showing various blood vessels that are clogged

Blood Clots

One possible explanation for pain in the thigh when sitting is a blood clot in the leg. A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a clot forms in a deep vein of the body, usually in the legs.

DVTs can cause leg pain and swelling or may have no noticeable symptoms. People who have clotting disorders or don’t move for long periods are more at risk of this condition.

A soccer player sitting on a doctor’s table holding his thigh in pain

Overuse and Injury

Sometimes we may overextend ourselves in daily activities. Aching thighs, calves, and feet can result from deep-muscle workouts, long walks, or too much time on your feet at work.

This can especially be true if we perform at activity levels we are not used to. Usually, aches from overuse will subside in a few days.

On the other hand, there may be a more serious injury that has occurred. If the pain does not go away, it makes sense to get checked out by a doctor to ensure a more serious problem isn’t the cause.


The following symptoms are common in people who experience leg pain after sitting down. Sufferers may have symptoms unique to their situation and will vary based on the underlying issues.


Pain can present in several ways. It may be sharp or dull, and pain may be localized to a specific area or muscle group or diffuse along the entire limb.

Painful sensations can also appear at different times or with different activities. Some people may report leg pain from sitting too long or leg pain when sitting but not walking.

Make sure to record your specific symptoms to discuss with your doctor so that the proper treatment plan can be devised.


Some sufferers may experience a burning sensation where the thigh or leg may be sensitive to the touch. This may be caused by over firing nerves or underlying infection.


Sometimes leg pain after sitting for a while can cause a “pins and needles” effect. This may make you feel like you are being poked by many sharp needles at once.

This symptom can be the result of blood flow issues or nerve problems. If left unchecked, minor issues may get worse or lead to complications.


Loss of sensation or feeling like your leg is asleep is another common symptom. The numbness may occur along one nerve, along a single side of the body, or symmetrically along both sides of the body.


Cramping or muscle fatigue may plague people with overworked muscles or those suffering from a pinched nerve.


When muscles don’t contract as they should, it may feel like your legs are weak. Some people compare it to their legs feeling like rubber or jelly. Weak muscles can make it difficult to walk or stand up.

Prevention Tips

If you can prevent the leg or thigh pain from happening in the first place, you will be in the best position to remain pain-free. Consider four options to prevent pain.

A woman sitting on a running track in a stadium

Take Frequent Breaks

Pain relief from uncomfortable leg aches when sitting can come with frequent breaks. If the cause of the pain seems to be overexertion, this can be an excellent way to let the body naturally heal itself.

However, if a circulation problem is the root cause of chronic leg pain, lying down may worsen the symptoms.

A black office chair

Use an Ergonomic Chair

One way to deal with regular back, leg, or thigh pain from sitting in an office chair is to purchase a chair that provides better support.

This is especially helpful if the chair must be used for long periods while working. Look for a height-adjustable seat so your feet can plant firmly on the floor rather than dangling.

Give attention to the quality of the cushion padding and that it is a sufficient thickness to reduce strain. Lumbar support will keep the lower back aligned and supported and improve posture.

Finally, choose an office chair with arm supports to protect your shoulders and upper back.

A woman doing a thigh stretch on grass

Stretch Frequently, Especially While Working

For healthy people, staying active is the best way to deal with their legs hurting after sitting, and this promotes good circulation.

Get up and stretch your legs and back to get the blood flowing again regularly. You will find that this has the benefit of sending oxygen-rich blood to different parts of the body, like the legs and feet.

Good circulation is a factor in nerve and tissue repair and regeneration too.

A woman laying in bed using a wedge pillow to prop her back up

Healthy Sleep Posture

Sleep studies show that sleeping on your back and with a pillow beneath the crooks of your legs can help you maintain the correct back posture.

This can lower back stress and pain when waking in your lower body. Others suggest sleeping on your stomach to reduce pressure on your spine and the nerves that travel into the thighs and legs.

Treatment Options

There are some effective treatments for thigh, leg, and calf pain. The treatment methods you choose will likely be affected by the reason for the pain. Take time to get a diagnosis of the reason for your pain for the best results.

A blue hot/cold therapy wrap

Hot/Cold Therapy

Muscle strains may be relieved with cold packs for twenty minutes at a time, several times a day. Ensure to follow the pattern of applying ice and removing it not to cause tissue damage.

Heating pads are a useful therapy for boosting blood flow and nutrients to a part of the body. It may be used for leg stiffness after sitting for too long.

A man doing a thigh stretch in a park


A routine of stretching the muscles in the back, thighs, legs, and calves can be an effective and low-cost treatment option for some conditions.

Follow a regular schedule of stretching muscles to help work out any knots or painful spots. Take care not to overextend the muscles, or the pain could worsen.

TENS Therapy

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, or TENS, is a pain relief solution that attacks the problem of back or thigh pain while sitting or standing. This is especially effective when muscle pain is the reason for the pain.

TENS units send small electrical pulses through wires connected to sticky pads that are attached to your skin.

The electrical impulses can reduce the pain signal from the spinal cord to the brain. This may help relieve pain, relax muscles, and stimulate the production of endorphins – the body's natural painkillers. And it does this all without the aid of medication.

A blue seat cushion

Seat Cushions

Sometimes a pain sufferer needs to address the problem directly. If the seat you are using is the cause of your leg or thigh pain after sitting for a long time, then it might be time to invest in a seat cushion that provides greater support.


Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy is a treatment that uses natural red and near-infrared light to treat pain without medication.

The concentrated wavelengths of light stimulate cells to reduce oxidative stress, speed healing, and lower inflammation.

Blood flow is increased to damaged tissue, and the body can produce antioxidants at a greater level.


Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes relief comes with making some changes. Doing the same things you've always done will probably not bring about a better result.

Here are some lifestyle shakeups you might consider trying to find leg pain relief.

Weight Loss

Added weight can cause extra stress on the body, and it may cause extra strain on the joints and the spine. Talk to your healthcare professional about your options for shedding extra pounds to gain pain relief.

REgular Exercise and Stretching

A regimen of regular exercises and associated stretching can relieve pain because of the increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles.

Before starting any new exercise routine, consult your doctor. Some exercises may not be recommended for certain health conditions.

Improved Sitting, Sleeping, and Standing Posture

If you suffer from leg pain after sitting all day, consider altering your body positioning to find relief. How we sit, stand, and sleep can all have a major impact on our pain.

Leg pain from sitting in an office chair warrants a new chair with better back and cushion support. A softer or firmer mattress may improve sleep positioning.

New, quality shoes with the proper insole support can help straighten your posture and give a measure of relief.


In conclusion, thigh pain when sitting can be a frustrating and uncomfortable problem to deal with. However, there are several strategies you can use to alleviate this pain and prevent it from recurring in the future. These include practicing good posture, taking frequent breaks from sitting, performing stretches and exercises to strengthen your leg muscles, using a supportive seat cushion, and seeking medical attention if necessary.

By incorporating these techniques into your daily routine, you can reduce your discomfort and improve your overall quality of life. Remember to listen to your body and take the necessary steps to prioritize your health and well-being.

About the Author

Head shot for Brandon Landgraf

Brandon Landgraf is the Digital Marketing Manager for Carex Health Brands. He finds passion and fulfillment in creating content that enhances, improves, and enlivens others' quality of life. All of his written work is formulated to not only offer essential advice and tips but back it with proven studies and experts. His mission is to connect with readers and provide steps to make their lives better.

You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.

About Carex Health Brands

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Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.

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