A quadriceps strain also known as muscle pull, is a result of overuse and overstretching of the quadriceps muscle. They are microscopic, incomplete muscle tears with some bleeding into the muscle tissue, depending on the severity. It can range from a very small tear to a complete rupture.
Quadriceps muscles are situated in front of the thigh. There are four quadriceps muscle namely vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and rectus femoris. The most commonly affected muscle in a quadriceps strain is the rectus femoris. This muscle is susceptible to injury because it is the muscle that crosses from both the knee and hip joint.
And the most common cause of quadriceps injury is due to sports activities such as jumping, sprinting or kicking. It usually occurs when thorough warm up is not done.
Quadriceps Strain Grading And Symptoms
- No swelling.
- Mild discomfort while walking.
- Sudden feeling of twinge on the affected area.
- Local spasm is felt on the suspected tear.
- Feeling of tightness in the thigh.
- Straightening the knee against resistance causes discomfort.
- Unable to fully bend the knee.
- Pain affects walking, sudden sharp pain when kicking, running or jumping.
- Swelling and mild bruising on the affected area.
- Pain on feeling the area of the tear.
- Straightening the knee against resistance causes pain.
- Bad swelling appearing immediately.
- Sudden severe pain in the thigh.
- Bruising appears within 24 hours.
- Unable to walk without the aid of crutches.
- Static contraction is painful and might produce a bulge in the muscle.
- May not be able to engage in the sport or activity for 1 to 3 months.
Natural Remedies For Quadriceps Strain
Mild quadriceps strain usually takes 10 days to heal. In case of moderate injury, the time taken for healing is between 10 days to 6 weeks. However, when the injury is severe, the time taken for healing can be more than 3 to four months.
- Injured muscle must be allowed to rest and restore itself.
- Intermittent ice compresses for the first 24 hours followed by intermittent heat.
- Apply elastic bandage after compress.
- Keep your leg above the level of your heart while lying down. It minimizes swelling.
- To relieve pain the physician may prescribe painkiller and anti inflammatory medications.
Quadriceps Strain Exercises
Once the inflammation and pain has subsided, your physician will recommend physiotherapy exercise to strengthen the muscles. He will teach you exercises to stretch your thighs gradually. The aim is to improve the strength of quadriceps muscles. Know that minimal exercise is to be done until healing has taken place and activities should progress gradually.
Too much exercise too soon will cause strain and delay in the recovery. The physiotherapist may recommend soft tissue massage. It helps to improve the circulation and enhance healing process. Ultrasound may also be used to improve circulation and improve muscle strength.
- Exercise1: Keep your leg straight. The exercise is to tighten the muscles in anterior of your thigh. Keep a rolled towel below your knees. Now press your knee downwards upon the towel. Feel your muscle to becoming tight by keeping two fingers on the inside of your thigh. Practice it several times in a day. Stop if the symptoms aggravate.
- Exercise 2: Lie down and keep your legs straight. Now bend your knees and straighten them. Stretch the leg as far as possible without pain. Repeat this stretches for 10 times.