Why Your Inner Thigh Hurts When You Squat

Squatting is one of the best exercises you can do for your body, but it can also be a painful experience. If you have ever experienced pain while squatting, then you’re not alone. In fact, many people experience some sort of discomfort when doing this exercise. The most common complaint is lower back pain caused by improper form or technique; however, there are other reasons why your inner thigh hurts when squatting as well. We will discuss them below:

pain in the inner thigh
pain in the inner thigh

IT band friction syndrome

Iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBS) is a painful condition caused by the iliotibial band rubbing against the femur. The iliotibial band is a thick ligament that runs along the outside of your thigh, from your hip to your knee. When it rubs against the femur while you are running, cycling or hiking, it can cause pain in your outer thigh or knee.

Injuries like ITBS can be caused by excessive running, cycling or hiking without giving yourself time to recover between workouts. You might also develop ITBS if you have weak hip flexors and hamstrings — these muscles help stabilize your hips and pelvis when you are walking or running.

If you experience pain in either leg when squatting down for an extended period of time (for example if you're trying to pick something up from under a table), then consider taking some time off from doing squats until the pain goes away completely.”

Plica syndrome

Plica syndrome is a condition in which one or more of the plica tendons in your knee become inflamed or irritated. It can cause pain either at rest, during activity, or both.

Plica syndrome is caused by many things, including:

  • Overuse from repetitive kneeling tasks (like gardening)
  • Aging and degeneration of the knee joint (arthritis)
  • Trauma to the knee joint such as an injury in a collision sport like hockey or soccer.

Meralgia paresthetica

Meralgia paresthetica is a condition that causes pain in the inner thigh. The pain is usually felt when you sit for long periods of time and is caused by compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.

The good news is that meralgia paresthetica can be treated with stretching exercises, which will help relieve your symptoms and prevent them from returning.


Bursitis can occur as a result of overuse or trauma. When the bursa becomes inflamed, it causes pain and tenderness in the area.

The bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between tendons and bones. When you have bursitis, the bursa becomes irritated and swollen, causing pain in your legs when you move them.

In addition to squatting, other exercises that may increase your risk for developing patellofemoral syndrome include:

  • Running on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt
  • Doing step aerobics or high-impact aerobics
  • Playing tennis or basketball (especially if you jump)

Don’t let pain slow you down. See a doctor before the problem gets worse.

Don’t let pain slow you down. See a doctor before the problem gets worse.

If your inner thigh muscles are hurting when you squat, don’t let it slow you down. There are many things that can cause this type of pain and there are ways to treat it. If you have severe pain or swelling in your upper leg, see your doctor before the problem gets worse.


If you’re experiencing pain when squatting, try to find a doctor who understands the biomechanics of your body and what may be contributing to your complaint. If you can’t find one, try researching online or asking someone at your gym who knows about sports medicine. If all else fails, go see an expert!