The thigh comprises of three muscle group namely Quadriceps at the front, Hamstrings at the back and the adductors on the inner aspect of thigh.
The overstretching of thigh muscle fibers is referred to as “thigh strain”, mainly the quadriceps muscle is involved so also know as quads strain. As a result of overstretching the muscle fibers can be torn to varying degrees ranging from minor strain to full thickness tear.
The factors that increases the chance of thigh muscle strain are
- Muscle tightness
- Muscle fatigue
- Muscle imbalances
- Incorrect exercise technique
- Inadequate warm up period
- History of thigh strain/tear without adequate rehabilitation
- Sudden increase in intensity of training
- Pain during activities that involves the affected thigh muscle, e.g. walking, stair climbing, sit to stand, kicking.
- “Pulling pain” or a tugging sensation with stretching of the affected muscle.
- Swelling, bruising or thigh tenderness.
- Audible “pop” or snapping sensation at the time of injury, which may indicate a major tear or rupture.
On examination, the physiotherapist observes signs and symptoms related to thigh strain. If further assessment is required, an ultrasound or MRI may be used to confirm the location and severity of the injury.
The physiotherapy treatment aims at:
- Reducing pain and inflammation.
- Protecting injury.
- Normalizing joint range of motion.
- Strengthening knee and leg muscles.
- Monitoring patellar alignment.
- Normalizing muscle lengths
- Improving proprioception and balance.
- Improving functionality with activities like walking, running, squatting and jumping.
- Minimizing chances of re-injury.
Depending on the severity of thigh strain, the rehabilitation may take 4-6 weeks. It is important to complete the full treatment as directed by physiotherapist to reduce the risk of re-injury or ongoing thigh problems.
The factors that need to be considered to reduce risk of developing a thigh strain include-
- Adequate warm up and stretching prior to exercise or post-exercise.
- Gradual increase in exercise intensity or volume.
- Monitor athletic technique.
- Complete full rehabilitation programs following any injury to the lower limb.
For more advice, please consult physiotherapist at PAIN FREE PHYSIOTHERAPY CLINIC.