Quadriceps Strain

The quadriceps consists of four separate parts.

  • Rectus femoris which is located in the middle of the thigh. It covers most of the quadriceps muscles. It originates on the ilium.
  • Vastas Medialis which is located on the medial side of the femur.
  • Vastas Lateralis which is located on the lateral side of the femur.
  • Vastas Intermedius which lies between the Vastas Lateralis and the Vastas Medialis. It covers the front and side of the femur and deep to the rectus femoris

These four muscles work as powerful extensors to the knee joint. They are very important in several everyday activities including walking and running.

The Quadriceps Strain is a sudden sharp pain at the front of the thigh. Swelling and bruising may follow. Strains are graded from 1 to 3 depending on how severe the injury is.

  • Grade 1 causes pain but the tendon is not lengthened.
  • Grade 2 includes a lengthened ligament due to the ligament being stretched or partially ruptured. There will still be a function, however, it will be diminished.
  • Grade 3 is a complete tear of the tendon or muscle with impaired function. Any of the four muscles of the quadriceps can be torn. The most common is the rectus femoris

Causes of Quadriceps Strain

  • Sprinting
  • Jumping
  • Kicking
  • Usually, the injury occurs if proper warm up has not been done

Quadriceps Strains, Signs and Symptoms

  • History of a blow to the front of the thigh
  • Weakness and pain in the quadriceps muscle group
  • Inability to bend the knee
  • Palpable hematoma or lump in the muscle tissue
  • Pain when flexing and stretching or using thigh muscles to move
  • Cracking sensation when you push your finger on injured area

Quadriceps Strain Risk Factors

  • Playing Sports – speeding
  • Pushing or pulling something heavy
  • Exercising
  • Falling

Quadriceps Strain Treatment

  • Use the PRICE method
  • Protect – Protect the quadriceps by wearing support or compression bandage
  • Rest – Stop all sports activities in the early stages of healing. Continuing to train on injured area will slow healing
  • Ice – Apply ice or Super Cool Therapeutic Wrap to injured area
  • Compression – the Super Cool Therapeutic Wrap works great for compression and cooling
  • Elevate – Elevate the injured area above the heart if possible. This will allow gravity to help control swelling.

Testing for Quadriceps Strain

  • If you have any signs of quadriceps strain, your doctor will test you
  • Doctor will visually assess and feel the quadriceps muscles and soft tissue around the quadriceps muscles as well as the leg, knee, pelvis and lower back
  • The doctor will compare these areas to the quadriceps in the opposite leg to see if there is any difference in order to identify pain and swelling.
  • Doctor may ask you to complete a series of movements
  • Strain grades 1 and 2 usually do not require diagnostic testing
  • Grade 3 testing consists of:
  • X-Ray – Helps to identify, instability, fractures, abnormal bone shapes
  • MRI – Provides more detailed image, and helps to evaluate soft tissue around quadriceps for any tissue damage.
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