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|The Quadriceps Muscles|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
- Suddenly putting stress on the quadriceps when the muscle is not ready for the stress
- Using the quadriceps too much on a certain day
- Experiencing a blow to the quadriceps
- Doing a strenuous quadriceps activity
- Sports that require bursts of speed, such as:
- Tight quadriceps
- Cold weather
- Previous quadriceps injury
- Pain and tenderness in the front of the thigh
- Stiffness and swelling in the quadriceps
- Weakness of the quadriceps
- Bruising on the front of the thigh—if blood vessels are broken
- Popping or snapping sensation as the muscle tears—rare
- Tenderness and/or bruising directly over the quadriceps
- Pain or weakness when contracting the quadriceps, particularly against resistance
- Some stretching with small tears of muscle fibers
- Complete recovery can take 10-21 days
- Partial tearing of muscle fibers
- Recovery can take up to 1-2 months
- Complete tearing of muscle fibers, which is also known as a rupture
- Recovery can take more than three months
- Surgery may be needed to repair the torn muscle fibers
- Rest—Do not do activities that cause pain, such as running, jumping, and weight lifting using the thigh muscles. If normal walking hurts, shorten your stride. Do not play sports until the pain is gone. Wait until your doctor has given you permission.
- Cold—Apply ice or a cold pack to the quadriceps area for 15-20 minutes 4 times a day for several days after the injury. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin.
- Pain relief medications—Examples include aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen. Topical pain medications such as creams and patches applied to the skin are another option. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about using these medications. If you still have tenderness in the quadriceps while taking these drugs, do not return to physical activity. Check with your doctor before returning to play.
- Do not give aspirin to children and teens with a current or recent viral infection because of the risk for Reye's syndrome.
- Compression—Wear an elastic compression bandage around your thigh to prevent additional swelling. Be careful not to wrap the bandage too tightly.
- Elevation—Keep your leg higher than your heart as much as possible for the first 24 hours to minimize swelling.
- Heat—Use heat only when you are returning to physical activity. Then use it before stretching or getting ready to play sports.
- Stretching—When the pain is gone, start gentle stretching exercises as recommended by a healthcare professional. Stay within pain limits. Hold each stretch for about 10 seconds and repeat six times.
- Strengthening—Begin strengthening exercises for your quadriceps as recommended by a healthcare professional.
American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
American Council on Exercise http://www.acefitness.org
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca
Canadian Physiotherapy Association http://www.physiotherapy.ca
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Muscle strains in the thigh. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00366 . Updated August 2007. Accessed September 17, 2013.
10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 02/2014
- Update Date: 09/30/2013