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Diagnosis Please....Pain in Upper Outside Thigh


I am not really a power lifter but I expect I will get the most informed feedback here. For the last year plus, I have been experiencing problems with my left hip. The joint itself gives me problems if I try too much running, and will wake me if I sleep on that side too long. Normal day to day activity does not seem to bother me much.

To be honest, I'm a week away from my 43rd b-day, so I just accept it as the result of over 20 years of sports and lifting. What does bother me, however, is the intense pain I experience when doing squats, weighted step ups, lunges, etc. The pain is not in the joint itself. It seems to manifest about three to four inches below the hip joint, on the outside of my left thigh. The closest that I can describe it is like the worst case of tendinitis ever, but tendinitis does not seem to fit.

My friend and Dr. suggest it may be bursitis, but suggest little to help other than "stop doing whatever the hell you are doing that makes it hurt." He thinks I am crazy to still be lifting heavy in deads, squats, etc. in my mid forties. He does not understand that it is one of the few things in my life that still makes me feel young and alive. I love it. I don't want to walk away. I have laid off for long stretches, but it just seems to come back as soon as I start doing heavy hip dominant work.

What about it guys. Any suggestions as to what I am experiences and what I can do to self treat the condition. Any help is greatly appreciated.


Joint supplement, fish oils, foam rolling, stretching, prehab exercises, and massaging (by a certified masseuse).

Also maybe stop what your doing to cause the pain. No one really ever listens to this advice even me.


Your MD friend didn't suggest any further investigation? Do as advised above but it would also be nice to see you get an MRI done so you can properly target the source.


You are not listening guys! I want the magic pixie dust that just makes it all go away so I can begin to load up the bar....
Actually, I take the fish oils. I need to learn how to do the foam rolling properly. Just seems as if I have some kind of connective tissue issue going. Like there is inflammation within the muscle fascia in the upper/outer thigh sweep. It sure do hurt though.


Since what symptoms you have are very general diagnosis is impossible over the internet and treatment would vary greatly depending on what is wrong. If you have actually damaged one of the abductor muscles or IT band on the outside of your thigh, foam rolling is NOT beneficial (never foam role an injury).

However, if you have a tight piriformis (muscle on the outside part of your hip underneath the gluteus muscles), it could be pinching your sciatic nerve causing a shooting pain down your leg like that. In that case foam rolling would alleviate that pressure. I'm just saying this to show you why it's important to figure out what is wrong before trying stuff because you can actually just make it worse. Also, it's possible to lift pain free when you get older, it's just harder, so don't just be passive and say it goes with the territory. My two cents.


I think you may be on to something with the IT band injury, only manifesting in upper thigh/hip area. Curious though, you say not to foam roll, but most info found while googling says to roll. Can you give more insight as to your reason not to roll?


word, go see an ortho and get an MRI. Trying to diagnose injuries over the Internet is similar to smashing your face into a wall over and over again.


It sounds like IT band pain. I used to get it bad from wide-stance squatting combined with sumo pulling. Foam rolling helps. I used to roll on a tennis ball up and down the outside of my thigh.

Backing off for a few week on the aggravating activities seemed to fix it for me- i.e. I switched back to conventional pulling and brought my squat stance in for a severel weeks. The lunges may be aggravating it- I've heard of these being rough on those with IT and groin issues.


I concur with the IT band syndrome. See if the description here fits: http://www.eorthopod.com/public/patient_education/6512/iliotibial_band_syndrome.html


At 43 you will need to see an ortho. For all the ITB diagnoses, it would actually be greater trochanter bursitis. Other things? Referred pain from a low back injury for one, especially if it is worse with squatting. If you are running, and there is night pain, I would be concerned about stress fractures to the hip. There is actually a large differential diagnosis list for the symptoms you gave and an ortho would be your best bet for an accurate diagnosis. Treatment starts from there.


I agree, trochanteric bursitis from the ITBand is probably the most likely. You will likely need a break from squatting and deads. Work on IT band stretching, both while standing and on the ground. Also work on strengthing the gluteus medius.

I have had ITBand problems x 5 years with bilateral hip pain down to below the knee where the IT band inserts. I had an injury twice on the left where the leg gave out during a squat and I heard a tearing sound (like fabric). I suspect I sustained a partial tear of the tensor fascia lata, the small muscle on the anterolateral superior thigh. My thigh swelled and the swelling went with gravity and showed as subcutaneous blood below the lateral knee.

The good news is that for squatting, the TFL does not do much. If it ruptures, it will be painful, but eventuallly you will get your strength back.


Foam rolling and then stretching is the best cure if it is anything that doesn't require surgery, and more than likely is probably IT Band related, unless its a disc issue.

Try foam rolling and stretching. I will say this, for me, PVC pipe works WAY better than a foam roller, and is also cheaper. Pick up a 1,2,3,4 and 5" piece each and it is still less than a foam roller, and you can use diff sizes to pinpoint different things. Start big, go to smaller as you go through the session.

As far as learning HOW to foam roll- Here you go-


You're welcome :slightly_smiling:

Edit- This is, all of course, if it is NOT something serious, like a fracture or disc issue. Your best bet is to see an ortho and have the MRI. ESPECIALLY if you have insurance. In fact, ifyou do, and DON'T go see one, you're a prick, as a lot of us (Like me, the guy w/ $30,000 in medical bills from a bone tumor, in, my femur actually) would kill to have.

The other shit is for after diagnosis or if you dont therefor are going to be an idiot like the rest of us, the uninsured athletic population, and willing to try anything else first.