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We obtain Lipschitz regularity results for a fairly general class of nonlinear first-order PDEs. These equations arise from the inner variation of certain energy integrals. Even in the simplest model case of the Dirichlet energy the inner-stationary solutions need not be differentiable everywhere; the Lipschitz continuity is the best possible. But the proofs, even in the Dirichlet case, turn out to relay on topological arguments. The appeal to the inner-stationary solutions in this context is motivated by the classical problems of existence and regularity of the energy-minimal deformations in the theory of harmonic mappings and certain mathematical models of nonlinear elasticity; specifically, neo-Hookian type problems.

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