Summary of Quadriceps Strain
The muscles that run down the front of the thigh are known as the quadriceps, and can become injured through excessive tension and strain.
Quadriceps Strain FAQ's
The quadriceps muscles attach to the pelvic bone and thigh bone and then extend down to the knee cap. They form a tendon that runs a few centimetres from the bottom of the knee cap to the shin bone, and are responsible for extending the knee and performing daily activities such as stair climbing, standing movements and walking. They are also important in sporting activities that involve kicking, running and jumping. If the muscles become strained, they have generally been torn somewhere in the quadriceps. This is a common injury in sporting individuals such as those who take part in the jumping and running activities.
The most common symptom is pain which is usually felt down the front of the thigh where the majority of the quadriceps muscles are collected. There will be a tightened sensation in the thigh particularly when moving and attempting to climb stairs. The pain and severity of symptoms relates to the three grades of injury.Grade 1 – discomfort but no real trouble walking or movingGrade 2 – a fair amount if discomfort and difficulty performing some activities. There may also be swelling and bruising visibleGrade 3 – sever injury that hurts even when just walking. Swelling, bruising and also muscle spasms are common with this grade of injury
Minor strains can be resolved in a couple of weeks, while more severe grade 2 injuries may take between 4 and 6 weeks. If you have suffered a full rupture – a grade 3 injury – surgical intervention may be necessary with an average recovery time of up to 3 months. Your consultant will liaise with you regarding return to activity, which will be gradual and will depend on your ability to demonstrate that you have the physical requirements needed to return to a normal level of activity.
Repetition of activity or overstretching can cause the muscles to become torn, due to the excessive tension running through them. This tear can occur at either end of the muscle or in the middle within the muscle itself. The following grading system helps to identify the severity of the strain:Grade 1 – a small number of tears in the muscle, causing pain but not affecting mobilityGrade 2 – a significant number of tears which causes loss of some functionGrade 3 – the muscle becomes ruptured and the patient suffers a major loss of functionRepetition of activity or overstretching can cause the muscles to become torn, due to the excessive tension running through them. This tear can occur at either end of the muscle or in the middle within the muscle itself. The following grading system helps to identify the severity of the strain: Grade 1 – a small number of tears in the muscle, causing pain but not affecting mobility Grade 2 – a significant number of tears which causes loss of some function Grade 3 – the muscle becomes ruptured and the patient suffers a major loss of function
Within the first 48-72 hours, mile to moderate sprains can be treated using the RICE method – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. It is important to avoid HARM within this time period – Heat, Alcohol, Running and Massage. After this time has passed, the body will start to lay down scar tissue so it is important to gently massage the affected area so as to ensure the scar tissue formed is done so in a unformed order. A poor repair will result in prolonged pain so it is essential this recommendation is followed. Gradual exercise and stretching will be introduced throughout the treatment process, to strengthen the quadriceps and the core, improving posture and relieving the tension. Heat treatment may also be introduced later in the rehabilitation process, alongside anti-inflammatory medication.
The program of exercises will be devised according to your injury and your own recovery, and must be followed to ensure that a repeat injury is not sustained. Stretching will help to repair the muscle and strengthen it so as to avoid reoccurrence.