The quadricepses is a group of muscles located in the front of the thigh. The name quadriceps comes from Latin and means “four heads”. In quadriceps, those are: rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and vastus lateralis.
They can be pulled, strained or teared, but the pain in all those cases is without a doubt located in the front of the thigh. Pull or strain cause dull pain, but in the case of the quadriceps tear, there is sharp pain, bruising, and swelling on the thigh.
Causes and Treatment of Quadriceps Pain
Quadriceps can get pulled or strained in cases when the hamstrings overpower the quadriceps. It often happens in runners, especially in sprinters.
If a person experiences some foot imbalance, known as sub-taler joint pronation, it could lead to further imbalance between the hamstring and the quadriceps, also causing the injury.
The treatment should be started as soon as possible. Specialists refer to this treatment as RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. The RICE treatment is proven to be helpful for pulls and strains of the muscles.
Ice pack or a wet towel from the fridge should be placed on the injured spot. Use a bandage to compress the thigh and elevate the leg to position it higher than the head. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, could be helpful to reduce the pain and swelling. Avoid using anti-inflammatory drugs right before the practice and always use them with some food.
While the injury lasts, all training must be completely stopped until the pain goes away. Recovery is expected in 2 to 3 weeks, and then patients may start with careful and easy jogging. Doctors advise to use sports orthotics or insoles, because they speed up the recovery process. Furthermore, it is advisable to perform quadriceps stretches before and after training sessions.
Use of orthotics can help you resolve problems with your feet. They will form your feet muscles to the proper shape, so they won’t be affecting the quadriceps any more.
Runners are also advised to strengthen the quadriceps in order to avoid these injuries. Warming up before and stretching after the run are a must. Doctors recommend squats, biking, stair climbing and leg extensions, for these exercises can prevent more quadriceps problems in the future.
Some studies have shown that running or just walking backwards can also strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings. First, start walking backwards on the flat road or use a treadmill, and then progress to a slow jog. Start with 50 and gradually go up to 500meters.