Dent in Thigh: Is It ALS?

Seeing a dent in your thigh, or quadricep muscle, can be a scary experience. While the dent can be any size, in most people, it’s only 1-2 inches.

It can also vary in position- some people have a horizontal dent while others have a vertical dent.

There are many possible causes to this strange symptom. In this article, we’ll explore the most common ones.

Rarely is Muscle Denting a Serious Issue

dent in thighFirst and foremost, a dent in the thigh isn’t a medical emergency, nor does it signify an underlying disease or ailment (in most cases).

While it can be one of these things, it’s not likely. Instead, it’s more likely to be caused by something benign.

What most people think is a muscle dent isn’t a dent at all- it’s actually a loss of subcutaneous tissue (the fat underneath the skin).

Bottom Line: What you’re seeing probably isn’t a dent in the thigh muscle. It’s more likely a loss of subcutaneous tissue (fat deposits).

What Can Cause Subcutaneous Tissue Loss?

As we mentioned in the first section, what you’re seeing is most likely a loss in subcutaneous tissue– not a loss in the muscle itself.

So, what causes it? A relatively common cause is local trauma. If you bump into a hard object, it can cause the fatty tissue under the skin to shrink.

This can leave behind what looks like to be a dent in the thigh, when in fact, it’s not. Will the skin ever fill back in?

It depends on the person. In some people it eventually fills in, and in others, it doesn’t. Either way, it’s nothing to panic over.

Bottom Line: If you’ve recently bumped your thigh against a solid, hard object then this can shrink the fatty tissue that resides there.

Muscles Don’t Atrophy in Small, Defined Sections

The next fact to realize is that muscles don’t atrophy (waste away) in small, defined sections. That’s simply not how our bodies work.

Nowhere in medical literature will you see a section saying how a dent in a thigh muscle led to a serious disease like ALS.

If you think that you’ve got ALS, that should be a sign of relief (that and the fact that the disease is extremely rare).

Bottom Line: Don’t worry- you probably don’t have ALS. Why? Because muscles don’t waste away in small, defined sections like this.

Are You Leaning Against an Object with Your Thigh?

A common possibility for your symptom is that you’re leaning against your thigh throughout the day and don’t realize it.

Staying in such a position for extended periods of time can result in a dent-like groove appearing underneath the skin.

Are you resting heavy objects against your thighs? Like heavy briefcases for example? If so, this can also be a cause.

Start paying attention to these actions throughout the day and you may be surprised that you actually do them!

Bottom Line: Leaning against your thigh all day, or putting heavy items on your thighs, can cause this scary symptom.

Could It Just Be Normal Anatomy?

Believe it or not, the dent in your thigh could just be normal anatomy.

It’s funny how you live with a specific anatomical features throughout your life, only to suddenly notice them one day.

It could simply be a horizontal or vertical fissure in the muscle. If you’re a very toned individual with little body fat in your legs, then it’s not uncommon to feel a fissure here.

It’s also possible for the fissure to appear and disappear depending on your position.

Bottom Line: At the end of the day, your symptom might be nothing more than a normal anatomical feature that you just recently started noticing.

What Now?

Should you see a doctor regarding this symptom? You can, but they’ll most likely tell you what you’ve already read in this article.

If you suffer from health anxiety, then getting reassurance from a doctor may help you forget about it. In either case, know that it’s not likely to be anything serious.

Ask a Question: If you want to ask a medical doctor a question that hasn't been answered in one of our articles go to: Ask a Medical Doctor About your Symptoms

Did you find the information in this article helpful?

6 Comments

  • If it’s an indentation caused by leaning against a surface, is there a better chance it will disappear on its own?
    Thank you

  • I had a small dent appear on the outside edge halfway up on my right thigh a just over a year ago. It grew in size to approx 3” long by 1” horizontal. Then one appeared identical on the other leg in exactly the same place. There was no discomfort at first but then they began to hurt. Then my whole upper legs hurt and I also get shooting pains. I went for a thigh scan last year and the fat has significantly disappeared where the indentations are. My legs also now feel weaker than they were. My gp has no idea what it is. I don’t lean against anything. I now also have pains in my knees, my Achilles, my elbows and the carpal tunnel I have had for 24 years has flared up worse than it’s ever been. I’m awake in pain every night. I’m at my wits end as my gp just said ‘sometimes things happen in the body for no reason’ something must be causing this. It’s so frustrating. I feel like I’m falling apart this past year.

    • I’m so sorry to hear this has happened to you as well Dawn. My name is Dee and I have the painful indention on my right thigh and I have a pretty bad case of carpal tunnel. I am wondering if you’ve found out what this could be.

      Can these things be environmental?

    • Dawn, my symptoms are nearly identical to yours. Although I’ve had leg pain most of my life, I just noticed the dent in my left outer thigh this week, and I think it appeared following doing some squats. My knee hurts, outer shins, and the indention is a little tender, but it’s more how it looks that bothers me. Have you found out anything on your situation yet?

  • Ok, so I was doing squats and afterwards I watched everything on my right leg, from my knee to my hip, shift. Then the same thing happened on my left leg but not as bad. I did a lot of research and I now know its this, but what is this called? Does this not have a name?

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