Read below about painful thigh lump, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your painful thigh lump from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Painful Thigh Lump Symptoms

It's not uncommon to notice lumps and bumps on different parts of your body, but finding a new lump, especially a painful one, can be alarming. However, there are many potential causes for painful thigh lumps; while most causes are not serious and easily treatable, some require medication or the advice of a medical professional.

Characteristics

A lump or swelling located just under the skin in your thigh can be:

  • Large or small
  • Soft or firm
  • Mobile: This means it moves when you touch or press it.
  • Fixed: This means it feels stuck in its location.

Other symptoms

These lumps can also be associated with:

Duration

A thigh lump may be a short- or long-term occurrence depending on the cause.

  • A thigh lump may last for only a few days before resolving on its own or you may notice it persist for a week or more.
  • You may notice that a thigh lump that is persistent seems to grow over time as well.

Are painful thigh lumps serious?

Painful thigh lumps can vary in severity and can be evaluated by the following.

  • If it is self-resolving: A small thigh lump that resolves on its own is typically not serious.
  • If you also have a fever: A large lump that is associated with redness, pain, and numbness that does not seem to be resolving should be seen by a medical professional, especially if you also have a fever.
  • If it is growing or fixed: Lumps that are growing and feel fixed should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Painful Thigh Lump Causes

There are many potential causes for painful thigh lumps. Typically, these are due to certain skin conditions. Less commonly, thigh lumps can be a symptom of abnormal growths. How serious the painful thigh lump is is dependent on the cause.

Infections

There are many parts of the superficial skin that can become infected, causing a painful thigh lump, as well as the possibility of an infection within your body, fought by lymph nodes [1].

  • Infected hair follicles: The areas where each of your hair strands grow out of your skin are called follicles. When a follicle gets infected, usually due to a bacterial or fungal cause, it can lead to folliculitis, defined by areas of red, painful, swollen skin[2].
  • Cellulitis: This is a condition in which an open cut (visible or not) on your skin becomes infected due to exposure [3].
  • Abscess: A skin infection can eventually turn into an abscess which is a pocket of pus[4].
  • Lymph node enlargement: Your lymph nodes are small glands where the cells that fight off infections live. In reaction to the infection in and around your thigh area, they can grow in size and appear as a thigh lump.

Trauma

Painful thigh lumps can also be caused by trauma. If you remember bumping your thigh into something, being bitten by an insect, or coming into contact with a sharp object, your thigh lump may be your body's reaction to the trauma.

Abnormal Cell Growth

Your body is made up of many cells that are constantly growing and dividing. Usually, your body is good at making sure the cells are growing normally, but sometimes you might develop abnormal growths. Thigh lumps can be due to the following types of abnormal cell growth:

  • Abnormal fat cell growth
  • Abnormal bone, cartilage, muscle or tendon cell growth
  • Abnormal skin and hair follicle cell growth

6 Possible Conditions

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced painful thigh lump. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

  1. 1.Lipoma

    A lipoma is a noncancerous growth of fatty tissue cells. A lipoma can develop in almost any organ of the body although they are most commonly found in the subcutaneous layer just below the skin.

    Resolves with treatment

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    skin-colored groin bump, marble sized groin lump, small groin lump
    Symptoms that always occur with lipoma:
    skin-colored groin bump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  2. 2.Dermatofibroma

    Dermatofibroma (superficial benign fibrous histiocytoma) is a common cutaneous nodule of unknown etiology that occurs more often in women. Dermatofibroma frequently develops on the extremities (mostly the lower legs) and is usually asymptomatic, although pruritus and tenderness can be present

    Resolves with treatment

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    small facial lump, pink or red facial bump, face itch, skin-colored facial bump, painful facial bump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  3. 3.Skin Abscess

    A skin abscess is an infection of the deeper skin that's typically due to bacteria seen on the skin. Recently, infections are more frequently caused by Staph. Aureus (puts the "staph" in "staph infections"), which is dangerous and requires treatment.

    Good prognosis with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    rash with bumps or blisters, red rash, red skin bump larger than 1/2 cm in diameter, pus-filled rash, rash
    Symptoms that always occur with skin abscess:
    rash with bumps or blisters
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  4. 4.Skin Cyst

    An epidermoid cyst is a closed sac under the skin filled with a cheese-like or oily material. It is caused by trauma or surgery.

    Resolves with treatment

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    skin-colored armpit bump, marble sized armpit lump, small armpit lump
    Symptoms that always occur with skin cyst:
    skin-colored armpit bump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  5. 5.Severe Skin Abscess

    A skin abscess is an infection of the deeper skin that's typically due to bacteria seen on the skin. Recently, infections are more frequently caused by Staph. Aureus (puts the "staph" in "staph infections"). If the infection begins to spread, urgent treatment is required.

    92-96% resolve with treatment within 7-10 days

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, fever, painful neck lump, marble-size neck lump, pink or red neck bump
    Symptoms that always occur with severe skin abscess:
    pink or red neck bump, red bump
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room
  6. 6.Enlarged Lymph Nodes in the Groin

    Enlarged lymph nodes occur when the node becomes larger as it fills with inflammatory cells. This often is a result of an infection but can occur without a known cause.

    Enlarged lymph nodes should go away within a week or two.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    groin lump, movable groin lump
    Symptoms that always occur with enlarged lymph nodes in the groin:
    groin lump
    Symptoms that never occur with enlarged lymph nodes in the groin:
    fever, unintentional weight loss, hard groin lump
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit

Painful Thigh Lump Treatments, Relief and Prevention

As long as your pain is not serious, there are several at-home remedies you can try to alleviate symptoms. If those are not effective, you can consult your physician for further medical treatment.

At-home treatments

Certain at-home treatments are available to combat painful thigh lumps.

  • Warm and cold compresses: These can help reduce pain and swelling if your thigh lump is due to an infectious cause or trauma.
  • Over-the-counter medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil, Motrin, Naproxen and aspirin can help reduce pain, swelling, and redness because they work by reducing inflammation in your body. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also help with pain and fever but does not treat the inflammation.

Medical treatments

If you do not find relief with the measures above and your thigh lump has not resolved, consult your physician. They may recommend the following measures.

  • Incision and drainage: If your thigh lump is caused by an infection that has caused a collection of pus under your skin, a medical professional may need to cut a small hole (incision) in the skin overlying the bump in order to drain the pus collection.
  • Antibiotics: You may also be prescribed anantibiotic in a pill or cream/ointment form in order to fight the infection if your thigh lump is due to a bacterial or fungal cause.
  • Surgery: If your thigh lump is caused by an abnormal growth of cells, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the lump, assess what kind of cells are causing it, and determine whether the lump is cancerous or not.

Seek immediate medical attention in the emergency room or call 911 for the following

If symptoms below present, this indicates a serious condition:

FAQs About Painful Thigh Lump

Here are some frequently asked questions about painful thigh lump.

Why is my thigh lump painful?

The pain you're feeling depends on the cause of the thigh lump. Thigh lumps caused by infection may be painful because the body's immune response is reacting to the infection, and you feel pain because your body is alerting you that something is wrong. If it does not resolve soon, you should seek medical attention.

Why is my pain still persisting after my injury?

If your thigh lump is due to trauma, the pain you're feeling is most likely the aftermath of the damage caused to the area in and around the lump. If your pain doesn't get any better or gets worse, seek the attention of a medical provider.

Will my thigh lump go away on its own?

It depends. If your lump is due to abnormal cell growth, it might stay the same, grow or shrink. If it is caused by infection, it might go away on its own as your body fights it, or it might go away with some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication like Advil or Motrin.

Do thigh abscesses ever resolve on their own?

If the infection has caused a collection of pus (an abscess) to form, it might go away, but typically this requires draining by a medical professional. Any lump that persists or grows over time should be seen by a medical provider.

Why is my thigh lump growing?

Your thigh lump may be growing due to fluid collecting in and around the area of the lump. If your thigh lump is due to trauma, you can often experience swelling around the injured area, but this swelling should decrease over time. A thigh lump due to infection may grow as pus collects in the lump under the skin or as lymph nodes enlarge in reaction to the infection. A lump can also grow if abnormal cells are building up, and these cells can either be cancerous or non-cancerous. A thigh lump that is growing rapidly in size or persistently grows should be medically evaluated.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Painful Thigh Lump

  • Q.What color is the bump?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you have a rash?
  • Q.Is there something coming out of the bump?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our painful thigh lump symptom checker to find out more.

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Painful Thigh Lump Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced painful thigh lump have also experienced:

    • 12% Upper Leg Pain
    • 11% Hard Thigh Lump
    • 9% Upper Leg Bump
  • People who have experienced painful thigh lump had symptoms persist for:

    • 38% Over a Month
    • 27% Less Than a Week
    • 15% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced painful thigh lump were most often matched with:

    • 100% Skin Abscess
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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References

  1. Skin and Soft Tissue Infections. American Family Physician. 2015;92(6):online. AAFP Link
  2. Folliculitis and Carbuncles. Massachusetts General Hospital. Mass General Link
  3. Cellulitis. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated June 6, 2018. MedlinePlus Link
  4. Abscess. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated June 6, 2018. MedlinePlus Link