strain, or a pulled quad muscle is a common injury in sports. As with
most muscle strains, it can occur with any activity that requires
explosive contraction of the muscles.
strains, much like hamstring strains, can become chronic nagging
injuries if not treated correctly. Read on to learn more about this
sports injury, how it occurs, and how it should be treated and
The quadraceps muscle group is made up of four
muscles. The vastus intermedius is found on the front of the thigh,
deep to the rectus femoris. The vastus
medialis is found toward the inside of the leg, while the vastus
lateralis is found toward the outside of the leg.
vastus muscles all attach on the proximal femur, and run down the front
of the leg, inserting on the patella through the quadriceps tendon. The
rectus femoris attaches above the hip joint on the anterior inferior
iliac spine, and courses down the leg inserting into the patella, again
through the quadriceps tendon.
All of the quadriceps
muscles help to extend the knee, and the rectus femoris muscle helps to
flex the hip as well.
The rectus femoris is one of
the most commonly strained quadriceps muscles, and may also be involved
in hip flexor strains as well.
is a Quadriceps Strain? A quadriceps strain
is a tearing of the muscle fibers in one of the four quadriceps muscle,
most commonly occuring in the rectus femoris.
injury occurs with explosive contraction of the muscle, often when
trying to change directions, jumping, or taking off to run.
injury is graded using the 1-3 scale, with grade 1 strains being the
least severe, and grade 3 being the worst.
on the severity of the strain, you may be able to feel a defect in the
muscle, or a hole where the tear is.
most common symptom of a quadriceps strain is pain. It is usually acute
in nature, occuring immediately after the injury. You generally know as
soon as it happens when you strain your quad.
may be swelling around the site of injury, and you may have some
discoloration around the injury site as well. If the tear is large, and
there is a lot of bleeding, swelling may spread throughout the entire
Muscle spasm, or knots in the muscle, are
also very common symptoms of a quad injury.
ice, compression, and elevation, or R.I.C.E. is the initial treatment
for quadriceps injury. As the muscle begins to heal, it will start to
form scar tissue to fill in the tear of the muscle.
It is important to
let this tissue heal without increasing stresses on the muscle, and to
control the inflammation process early on.As
the muscle heals, you can begin to start gently
stretching the muscles, and working towards regaining your strength.
the quad muscles are large muscles and are made up of many many fibers
all surrounded by connective tissue, when the muscle is strained and
heals through scar formation, this tissue can cause restrictions in
flexibility, and is more susceptible to re-injury.
treat a quadriceps strain properly, and to prevent re-injury, you
should have some type of rehabilitation. This is important to return
normal flexibility, strength, and endurance, and to monitor scar
Most soft tissue
injuries heal within several weeks. You should be able to return to
normal activities anywhere from 2-6 weeks, depending on the severity of
quadriceps strains involves a good warm up and stretching program prior
to activities, as well as making sure you are properly conditioned for
your sports activities.
revolves around making sure you allow the first injury to heal before
returning to sports, and going through rehabilitation to restore your
strength and flexibility.
injury is very common in sports. If treated correctly, you can usually
recover within 2-6 weeks, and return to your sport. If not treated
appropriately, it can become a nagging injury with a high recurrance
rate. Treatment revolves around rest, ice, compression, and elevation
initially, followed by rehabilitation to restore flexibility and
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