Look down at your legs when seated, and you are looking at your Quadricep muscles. Quad is Latin for 4, and so you have four muscles making up the group, namely:
These originate from the pelvis and thigh bone (femur), and attach to the shin bone (tibia) via the knee cap (patella).
Your quads straighten your legs while walking, kicking, cycling, running, swimming etc.
Two things can happen:
1. The muscle can stiffen, fatigue and develop some really sore areas.
2. One or more of the quads can tear; this is known as a strain. The reactus femoris is particularly at risk from strains.When one or more parts of the quadriceps muscle tear, the condition is known as a quadriceps strain.
Muscles strains range from Grade 1 to a Grade 3 tears.
Grade 1 Quadriceps Tear: a small number of fibers are torn resulting in some pain, but allowing full function.
Grade 2 Quadriceps Tear: a significant number of fibers are torn with moderate loss of function.
Grade 3 Quadriceps Tear: all muscle fibers are ruptured resulting in major loss of function.The majority of quadriceps strains are grade 2 tears.
Causes of a quadricep issues:
1. The muscle can become tired and tight from endurance sports such as swimming, cycling and running. This responds well to a bit of rest and regular massage.
2. The muscle can get strained from sudden movements such as kicking a ball or sprinting.
Signs and symptoms of a quadriceps strain:
Athletes with a quadriceps strain usually feel a sudden sharp pain or pulling sensation in the quadriceps muscle at the time of injury.
Treatment for a quadriceps strain:
Ignoring symptoms, or adopting a, ‘no pain, no gain’ attitude, is likely to lead to the problem becoming chronic. Immediate, appropriate treatment in patients with a quadricep strain is essential to ensure a speedy recovery. Once the condition is chronic, healing slows significantly resulting in markedly increased recovery times and an increased likelihood of future recurrence.
Get some RICE. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This should be followed by a massage program – a mix of massage, mobility band treatment and kinesiology tape are beneficial. Give me a call, I can help in this regard. This should be followed by a stretching/strengthening program.
There are several factors which can predispose people to developing a quadriceps strain. Some of these factors include:
poor quadriceps flexibility
muscle tightness (particularly the hamstrings, gluteals, hip flexors)
other muscle weaknesses (such as gluteals)
inadequate warm up
incorrect running gait
inadequate rehabilitation following a previous quadricep injury
poor core stability etc.
Our runners leg assessment program can help highlight many of these factors.