The Quadriceps is a group of four muscles on the front of the thigh: Rectus Femoris, Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Lateralis and Vastus Medialis. Their action is to straighten the knee and contribute to flexing the hip.
Quadriceps strains often occur when exercising e.g. running, kicking a football etc. In a lot of cases, there is an increase in activity or a new activity in the weeks or days leading up to the calf muscle strain. Symptoms of a Quadriceps muscle strain include a ‘popping’ or ‘tearing’ sensation, pain, swelling, bruising or pain on moving. There are different types of muscle strains varying from minor to a complete rupture.
A thorough History and Physical Examination by your Chartered Physiotherapist will determine the likelihood of a calf muscle strain. If the examination shows an obvious muscle strain then a series of exercises and advice will be prescribed.
It is rare that a Quadriceps muscle strain will require a MRI scan or a surgical procedure. A conservative approach with careful management of load will suffice.
MyPhysio’s thoughts on Quadriceps Muscle Strains
If given enough time and rest, a minor muscle strain will heal itself. The only issue with this is that if the appropriate exercise protocols are not followed your Quadriceps muscle may heal with poor flexibility and strength. You may have no pain walking or playing sport but compensations have been developed subconsciously and you will put yourself at a high risk of recurring Quadriceps muscle strains.
Often with kicking sports the player may have no symptoms when running, jumping and changing of direction, however, striking the ball without the appropriate strength or flexibility can lead to more time with your Chartered Physiotherapist. Progressive loading of the Quadriceps and lower limbs will avoid this.
If you have any queries regarding Quadriceps Muscle Strains, please ‘Ask the Expert’.