Burning and pain on the outside of my quad

Ok, I know the answer is to go see a doctor, but I’m wondering if anyone has any clues about what might be causing this.
This issue started a couple of years ago during a hiking trip in Italy. By the end of that trip, I was getting a searing burning pain on the outside of my right quad every time I bent that leg to step up or step down. The pain eventually subsided over the course of about 18 months – it would be triggered by walking long distances. But cycling didn’t trigger it. Of course, being a man and by definition an idiot, I never went to a doctor. Anyway, the issue eventually went away, until now. We were down in the desert for 5 weeks doing a lot of hiking, and it started again. Its triggered by big steps up and down that activate that quad. I ended up moderating it by using my left leg for the lifts and drops and keeping my right leg anchored and that did avoid it being triggered. Again cycling doesn’t bother it nor does squatting, lunging etc.
I feel like it’s some overuse syndrome. Wondering if anyone has any clues that could point me to what kind of doctor to go see – my primary care doc, or a PT, or a sports med doc etc…



Just a wild stab in the internet dark… google iliotibial band - also sometimes known as runner’s knee. Might be something like that … or not. Hope you get it sorted and at least you can cycle :+1:

It could be meralgia paraesthetica - trapping the lateral cutaneous nerve of the thigh at the pelvic brim.

Meralgia paresthetica - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic.

Often settles with rest/modification of any precipitating factors (wearing a belt that puts pressure onto the nerve is a classic). I’ve also used steroid/local anaesthetic to treat a couple of cases (I’m a primary care doc - I’d start there or with a physio).

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Excellent, thank you. That’s the kind of clue I was looking for.

Is it worse going down stairs when it flares up? Could be iliotibial band syndrome.
I would suggest not going to a doctor (I’m a doctor) and going directly to see a sports physio.

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Yes, any time I activate that quad going down stairs it burns while its flared up. I did consider that it could be IT band syndrome but that usually manifests itself in pain closer to the knee (I’ve had that issue in the past). But yeah I could start with a sport physio and go from there. I don’t really want to go to my primary care doctor’s office right now with the virus raging.

I agree that it’s your ITB. I got the same thing cycling, unfortunately I was about 3/4 of the way through a 125km race when it came on. The pain was terrible and I essentially rode with one leg to the finish line. I couldn’t put any pressure on the pedal at the top or the bottom of the stroke. Off the bike I could barely sit on a sit or get back up but I was able to walk around no problem as long as I wasn’t climbing or descending steps. Anyway, the recovery for me was very quick and all I did was smash it on the foam roller once or twice a day for a week or two. I still get a twinge occasionally but not the same as previously and I’ve done the same race without any problems. Get on the roller!!

Sounds exactly like ITB. Doctor won’t help, see a sports physio. Basic routine is roller, roller, roller, stretches rinse repeat. Took me a long time to get over mine (2 years), and it still flares up now sometimes but I’ve learnt how to manage.

Stretch your calves - a looooot. When they’re right they pull the ITB.

Be very careful exercising if you’re using anti inflammatories - very easy to injure yourself.

Thanks folks. I have an appt with my PT for Monday morning and will start hitting the roller today.


Saw my PT this morning. He’s pretty convinced its meralgia paresthetica - I didn’t suggest anything, figured I didn’t want to lead him to a conclusion but from all the symptoms and his analysis of my movement that’s what he has concluded. He thinks that my super tight right hip flexors could be trapping the nerve so we’ll work on that a while before we consider a medical approach.




Good luck with the recovery