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Quadriceps Strain Print E-mail

What is a Quadriceps Strain?


The quadriceps muscles consist of the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and the rectus 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.


Symptoms of Quadriceps Strain

The symptoms of 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: Tightness in the thigh, unable to walk properly, and probably not much swelling. Trying to straighten the knee against resistance probably won't produce much pain (unlike a grade 2 or 3).

Grade 2: Probably cannot walk properly, occasional sudden twinges of pain during activity, possible swelling, pressing on the muscle causes pain, pain while straightening the knee against resistance, and unable to fully bend the knee.

Grade 3: 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. Seek medical attention immediately. It is important you do this if you suspect a grade 3 strain. If you do not you may be permanently injured or weakened.

Causes of Quadriceps Strain

  • Stretching the quadriceps beyond the amount of tension or stress that they can withstand.
  • Suddenly putting stress on the quadriceps when the muscle is not ready for the stress.
  • Using the quadriceps too much on a certain day.
  • A blow to the quadriceps.

Prevention / Treatment of Quadriceps Strain

The following guidelines are for information purposes only. Seeking professional advice before beginning rehabilitation is recommended. 

To reduce the chance of a quadriceps strain:

  • Keep your quadriceps muscles strong so they can absorb the energy of sudden physical stress.
  • After a short warm-up period, stretch out your quadriceps.
  • Learn the proper technique for exercise and sporting activities. This will decrease stress on all your muscles, including your quadriceps.
  • Ice, compress and elevate, Sports Massage to flush edema from tissue.
  • Wear a heat retainer or support.
  • See a sports injury specialist and physician who can advise on rehabilitation.

Massage Therapy

Use sports massage techniques to speed up recovery (very important). The trained therapists at Advanced Alternatives Massage Therapy are skilled in the use of sports massage techniques. The application of Myofascial Release and or Lymph edema Therapy has proven effective in restoring flexibility and flushing excess fluid from hypertonic tissue.


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