The thighs contain several muscles. The quadriceps and hamstrings help us bend and extend the hips and knees. The adductors move the legs inward toward each other. The pectineus and sartorius let you flex and rotate the thighs at the hip joints.
The thighs contain some of the largest muscles in the body. The thigh muscles allow the lower body to bend, flex and rotate. They also bear most of the body’s weight, and keep the hips and legs aligned, in addition to providing and assisting with balance.
Thigh muscles can be grouped based on their function and location:
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Each group of muscles in the thigh has a different job:
The thigh muscles are skeletal muscles. They attach to bone with tendons, and they help move parts of the skeleton.
They’re made of bundles of muscle fibers containing blood vessels and nerve fibers. All of the components are held together with connective tissue.
These muscles are very elastic, so they can stretch a lot.
The most common problems in the thigh muscles are muscle strains, pulls and tears. This type of injury occurs when a muscle is stretched beyond its limits and the muscle fibers pull apart.
Strains are common in the hamstrings and quads. They often occur during sports or other exercise where a person has to change direction quickly, or they collide with something or someone. Examples include soccer and football.
Symptoms of a thigh muscle strain include:
You can take steps to keep your thigh muscles safer and healthier, especially during exercise:
Damage to a thigh muscle can increase the chances that you’ll injure yourself even more. Talk to a healthcare provider if you have:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
The thighs contain many muscles that control movement of the hips and legs. The main types are the adductors, hamstrings, pectineus, quadriceps and sartorius. Thigh muscle injuries are common, especially strains, pulls and tears in athletes. Call your healthcare provider if you have pain, numbness or weakness, or any trouble putting weight on your leg.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/13/2021.
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