Why Can't I Cross My Legs?

Well, without a delayed pain response, that is.

I’ll get the disclaimers out of the way right up front: I don’t need this in a hurry, I realize it’s medical “advice” I’m looking for, and I get what I pay for. I know you’re (most likely) not a doctor, and I won’t base any treatment decisions on whatever you tell me–so far as you know. I choose this board because I’m ignorant about a lot of anatomy and there is a statistical possibility that someone here knows the answer, or how to find it. There.


I sometimes get a pain in my abdomen. It’s in the lower left quadrant, front, just inside (medial to) the protrusion we tend to call hip bone–in all that soft tissue. It’s just below, but not directly under the belt. It feels like the kind of pain you get from a pulled muscle. (foreshadowing)

My doctor is confused. So am I and I didn’t have to go to medical school to get that way. We did many tests. It’s not caused by anything I eat and we ruled out diverticulitis. A CT scan of the pelvis revealed nothing that could account for this.

This has been happening for years, never getting any worse, never going away completely. As luck would have it, I finally noticed that it comes on worse if I sit for a period of time with my legs crossed; and not in the manly ankle-on-the-knee type, but the kind where you put one thigh over the other. (Think Sharon Stone just before her “big reveal” in “Fatal Attraction.”) If I do this, I will have the pain in a little while.


Why would this happen? I’m in pretty good shape, and fairly limber (55 yo male, ~160# if that matters). I run three times a week and hike up mountains on weekends. I don’t have the symptom after either of these activities.

If I cross my legs–and it doesn’t matter which one is on top–I don’t feel any discomfort at the time, it always starts later. Same if I cross my legs and squeeze, trying to see if there’s a movement that does it. Nope, not at the time, always later.

I’m putting this out because someone might have had the same thing happen and I’d like to know what might have helped them. Yes, I can completely avoid it by just not crossing my legs and that’s what I usually (don’t) do. But yesterday I was working in such a way I needed to keep a tablet on my lap and that was the most convenient posture to assume. Today I’m in a lot of pain and more than a little annoyed that I shouldn’t be able to do such a commonplace thing.

Is this just part of getting old? If so, who do I talk to about an extended warranty?

By which I meant that the belt is not directly on the area that hurts; it’s lower on my body than the belt line.

How is your blood pressure? ORLY?
Have you checked it in both arms?

Check your blood pressure on both sides many time for awhile. I mean you should check both arms at about the same time and repeat this for several times. If you said you were getting a lower systolic number on the left side repeatedly by over 10, that could be significant. If you also said you occasionally felt something in your chest below the rib cage, that could be a further clue. These can be symptoms of an abdominal aneurism. You don’t need all the symptoms and the BP is the main one.

I’ll ask my doc about the BP. They did a CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis with contrast (Can I guess they were thinking along the same lines as you?) but it was negative . What is ORLY?

Since the OP is asking for medical advice, this is better suited for IMHO than GQ.

General Questions Moderator

I’m having trouble deciding if this problem is actually in your abdomen, or in the muscles surrounding the crest of your pelvis. You doctor seems to think it’s abdominal… Is it always on the same side?

Anyway, my personal experience. I have chronically tight muscles in that area, which make many normal seated positions very uncomfortable for me. I have had bad episodes in the past where there is knifelike pain in the hip/groin area. Usually though it is more of a dull, aching kind of pain or discomfort.

I do tons of yoga which is slowly allowing more flexibility in my hips, and recently I’ve been getting some ‘bodywork’/deep tissue massage which has helped loosen things a bit. It’s also helped identify the specific muscles which are problematic for me (the adductors, gracilis, pectineus of the inner thighs, and the psoas, which stretches from the groin/inner thigh area through the abdominal cavity and attaches to the spine).

It seems most likely to me that you have a similar tightness somewhere, or an easily compressed nerve, and that is what is causing the pain… but it’s certainly mysterious.