Stokewood Injury Clinic

Quadriceps Strain/Tear

The quadriceps muscles consist of the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and the rectos femoris. Any of these muscles can strain (or tear) but probably the most common is the rectus femoris. A strain is a tear in the muscle. If you have had a direct impact to the muscle then you should treat it as a contusion. Muscle strains are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on the severity of the damage done. It is important you understand what damage has been done so you can treat the injury correctly.

Grade 1 thigh strain:
What are the symptoms?

  •  
  • Tightness in the thigh.
  • Unable to walk properly.
  • Probably not much swelling.
  • Trying to straighten the knee against resistance probably won't produce much pain (unlike a grade 2 or 3).
    • What can the athlete do about it?

      •  
      • Use a compression bandage or heat retainer until you feel no pain.
      • Ease down on training for a week or two but no need to stop unless there is getting pain.
      • Apply cold therapy if pain is felt in 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.
            • Grade 2:
              What are the symptoms?

              •  
              • Probably cannot walk properly.
              • Occasional sudden twinges of pain during activity.
              • The athlete may notice swelling.
              • Pressing on the muscle causes pain.
              • Straightening the knee against resistance causes pain.
              • Unable to fully bend the knee.
              • What can the athlete do about it?
              • Ice, compress, elevate, use crutches for 3 to 5 days.
              • Wear a heat retainer or support.
              • See a sports injury therapist who can advise on rehabilitation.
              • 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.
                • Grade 3:
                  What are the symptoms?

                  •  
                  • Unable to walk properly without the aid of crutches.
                  • In severe pain.
                  • Bad swelling appearing immediately.
                  • A static contraction will be painful and might produce a bulge in the muscle.
                  • Expect to be out of competition for 3 to twelve weeks.
                    • What can the athlete do about it?

                      Seek medical attention immediately. 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.

Upper Leg Injuries

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