What is a Quadriceps strain?
The quadriceps muscles are the muscles on the front of the thigh.  A strain is a tear in the muscle. These can range in severity, from a very small tear to a complete rupture.


Tears to the quadriceps muscles usually occur following an activity such as sprinting, jumping or kicking.  The most common site of injury is just above the knee.
Muscle strains are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on the severity of the damage. It is important you understand what grade of injury you have suffered to be able to treat it appropriately.


Grade 1 thigh strain:
What are the symptoms?
    •    A twinge in the thigh is usually felt.
    •    A general feeling of tightness in the thigh.
    •    Mild discomfort on walking.
    •    Probably no swelling.
    •    Trying to straighten the knee against resistance may be uncomfortable
    •    An area of local spasm may be felt at the site of the suspected tear.
What can the athlete do about it?
    •    Apply the R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation) procedure for the first 24 hours.
    •    Apply cold therapy as soon as possible and every 2-3 hours.
    •    Use a compression bandage until you feel no pain.
    •    Rest for at least 72 hours before commencing light training
    •    If there is no pain, continue with training.
    •    See a sports injury professional.

 

Grade 2:
What are the symptoms?
    •    A sudden sharp pain when running, jumping or kicking.
    •    Unable to play on.
    •    Pain affects walking.
    •    The athlete may notice swelling or even mild bruising.
    •    Pain on feeling the area of the tear.
    •    Straightening the knee against resistance causes pain
    •    Unable to fully bend the knee.
What can the athlete do about it?
    •    Use the R.I.C.E procedure as above.
    •    Apply cold therapy straight away and every 2-3 hours for 48 hours.
    •    Wear a compression bandage and rest with the leg elevated.
    •    Use crutches if necessary.
    •    See a sports injury specialist.

Grade 3:
What are the symptoms?
    •    Sudden, severe pain in the thigh.
    •    Unable to walk without the aid of crutches.
    •    Bad swelling appearing immediately.
    •    Bruising usually appears within 24 hours.
    •    A static contraction will be painful and might produce a bulge in the muscle.
    •    Expect to be out of competition for 6 to 12 weeks.
What can the athlete do about it?
    •    Stop play immediately.
    •    Rest with the leg elevated, using a compression bandage.
    •    Apply cold therapy immediately.
    •    Seek medical attention. It is important you do this if you suspect a grade three strain. If you do not you may be permanently injured or weakened.