A quadriceps strain is a tear in one of the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh. It can range from a mild discomfort to a full blown tear of most of the muscle

Symptoms of a thigh strain

Quadriceps strains are graded 1,2 or 3 depending on severity.

Grade 1

  • A twinge in the thigh is usually felt.
  • A general feeling of tightness in the thigh.
  • Mild discomfort on walking.
  • Probably no swelling.
  • Trying to straighten the knee against resistance may be uncomfortable (see assessment).
  • An area of local spasm may be felt at the site of the suspected tear.

Grade 2

  • A sudden sharp pain when running, jumping or kicking.
  • Unable to play on.
  • Pain affects walking.
  • The athlete may notice swelling or even mild bruising.
  • Pain on feeling the area of the tear.
  • Straightening the knee against resistance causes pain.
  • Unable to fully bend the knee

Grade 3

  • Sudden, severe pain in the thigh.
  • Unable to walk without the aid of crutches.
  • Bad swelling appearing immediately.
  • Bruising usually appears within 24 hours.
  • A static contraction will be painful and might produce a bulge in the muscle.
  • Expect to be out of competition for 6 to 12 weeks.

What is a Quadriceps strain?

The quadriceps muscles are the muscles on the front of the thigh. They consist of the Vastus lateralis, Vastus medialis, Vastus intermedius and the Rectus femoris. A strain is a tear in the muscle. These can range in severity, from a very small tear to a complete rupture.

Tears to the quadriceps muscles usually occur following an activity such as sprinting, jumping or kicking, especially if a thorough warm-uphasn’t been undertaken. Any of these muscles can strain (or tear) but probably the most common is the Rectus femoris. This is because it is the only one of the four muscles which crosses both the hip and knee joints. This make it more susceptible to injury. The most common site of injury is around the musculotendinous junction (where the muscle becomes tendon), just above the knee.

Injuries that occur following a direct impact to the muscle, such as being hit by a ball or other hard object, are more likely to becontusions and should be treated slightly differently.

Treatment for grade 1 quad strains

What can the athlete do about it?

  • Apply the R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation) procedure for the first 24 hours.
  • Apply cold therapy as soon as possible and every 2-3 hours.
  • Use a compression bandage until you feel no pain.
  • Rest for at least 72 hours before commencing light training.
  • If there is no pain, continue with training.
  • See a sports injury professional.

What can a sports injury specialist do?

  • Use sports massage techniques to speed up recovery (very important).
  • Use ultrasound and electrical stimulation.
  • Prescribe a rehabilitation programme.

Treatment for a grade 2 strain

What can the athlete do about it?

  • Use the R.I.C.E procedure as above.
  • Apply cold therapy straight away and every 2-3 hours for 48 hours.
  • Wear a compression bandage and rest with the leg elevated.
  • Use crutches if necessary.
  • See a sports injury specialist.

What can a sports injury specialist do?

  • Use sports massage techniques to speed up recovery (very important).
  • Use ultrasound and electrical stimulation.
  • Prescribe a rehabilitation programme.

Treatment for a grade 3 thigh strain

What can the athlete do about it?

  • Stop play immediately.
  • Rest with the leg elevated, using a compression bandage.
  • Apply cold therapy immediately.
  • Seek medical attention. It is important you do this if you suspect a grade three strain. If you do not you may be permanently injured or weakened.

What can a sports injury specialist do?

  • Use sports massage techniques to speed up recovery (very important).
  • Use ultrasound and electrical stimulation.
  • Prescribe a rehabilitation programme and monitor it.
  • Operate if needed (rare).

Stop the pain and get your Quadriceps checked. Call +65 6471 2744 / Email to: info@boneclinic.com.sg