Quadriceps Pull or Tear

Quadriceps Pull or Tear

Description Of The Injury: The quadriceps muscles consists of the rectus femoris and the vastus lateralis, medialis and intermedius. These muscles are located in the front area of the thigh and attach to the knee cap via a tendon. They are primarily responsible for the extension action at the knee joint and are critical in movement such as walking and running. A pull or tear is usually a result of a muscle imbalance between the quadriceps and the hamstrings.

Injury Symptoms: The most obvious sign of a pulled or torn quadriceps is immediate and sharp pain in the front of the thigh that will prevent you from continuing the physical activity. The pain may increase in intensity when attempting to fully flex and extend the thigh or knee joint. Swelling and bruising may also be visible.

Additional Information

Home Treatments:

Mild and some moderate pulls or tears can be treated with the rest, ice, compression and elevation method. Once a quadriceps pull or tear has occurred, the affected thigh should be rested in an elevated position above the chest level to reduce blood pooling and inflammation. The thigh should be compressed with an elastic bandage to stabilize and help reduce the inflammation. Ice should be administered 20 minutes at a time, 3-4 times in the first 48 hours after injury. Physical activity should be gradually reintroduced.

Professional Medical Treatments:

an MRI scan will be able to identify the severity of the pull or tear. If regular at home conservative treatment is not an option, ultrasound therapy may be performed to promote a state of self-healing. If the pull or tear is severe enough, surgery will be needed to reattached the ligament or tendon in place.

Physical Therapy and Exercises:

Recovery of a quadriceps pull or tear may include physical therapy that starts with static stretches performed from a supine position. This will include passively moving the thigh and knee through their range of motions with the help of a physical therapist. Additional exercises may include the standing leg raise, the side lying leg lift and may progress to stabilization exercises with the use of a yoga ball or resistance band.

Exercise Techniques to Prevent Injury:

Prevention of a quadriceps pull or tear primarily involves strengthening the quadriceps muscles. This involves maintaining a strength training workout program and a sport specific workout program. Exercises will include squats, deadlifts, leg presses, leg curls and calf raises done with the help of a weight machine.

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