The quad is one of the biggest and strongest muscles in a person's leg. The quadriceps, or quads, are made up of four separate muscles: rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. These muscles allow a person to stand up, walk, run, and keep the kneecap stable.
Injuries usually occur when someone jumps from high altitudes or lands incorrectly from a jump. This sudden forceful movement may cause parts of the quad to tear away from each other.
Are you experiencing quad strain?
In this article, read more about its causes, symptoms, available treatments, and how to prevent it in the future. Also, learn how to apply kinesiology tape to the area to give support and relieve the discomfort that you're feeling.
What are the causes of quad strain?
The quadriceps tendon in the quad is commonly strained in people who play sports that require frequent running, jumping, and rapid turns.
The quad muscles are also susceptible to injury because they are used frequently throughout the day even when not exercising. Some quad strain injuries can be chronic due to how frequently quad muscles are used during daily activities.
You may be more prone to quad strain when:
- Your muscles are fatigued
- Your leg muscles are overstretched
- No warming enough before activity or exercise
What are the symptoms of quad strain?
Quad strain symptoms can include:
- Feeling of pain and swelling in the thigh
- Bruising in the area
- Trouble bending or straightening the knee
- Limited range of motion
- Feeling of weakness in the leg
- Pain when running, kicking, and/or jumping
What are the available treatments for quad strain?
For mild cases of quad strain, home remedies may help the injury heal. However, for more severe cases, you may need to see your health care provider for the best course of action. Treatments for quad strain may include:
- RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).From the first forty-eight to seventy-two hours of the injury, it’s highly advised that the RICE protocol be used. Rest when you feel quad pain when exercising and apply ice or cold pack for 10-15 minutes several times per day.
- Kinesiology tape.Applying kinesiology to the affected area promotes circulation, gives the area support and alleviates some of the swelling and discomfort that you feel.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.To help reduce the pain and inflammation, your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter pain medication like aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen.
- Surgery.While rare, there are more serious cases where there is a complete tear in the quads. Surgery may be required to address these cases.
How long does it take for a quad strain injury to heal?
Recovering from mild to moderate quad strain may take between one to three weeks given that you limit your activities or exercise. For more severe cases, it may take between four to eight weeks.
How do you apply kinesiology tape for quad strain?
If you’re new to kinesiology tapes, their benefits are worth knowing especially if you’re prone to aches and pains. But the important thing to note is that kinesiology tape helps lift the skin away from the underlying tissues. This will help increase circulation in the area and help alleviate the discomfort you feel.
Before your quads application, here are some tips on how to prepare beforehand. And, since you’ll be applying different kinesiology tape tensions, learn more about it here.
Here is a kinesiology taping protocol that may relieve some of the discomforts that you feel from quad strain:
- Start in a standing position with the heel placed firmly into the ground with weight shifted forward.
- Measure the first security strip from the outside of the quadricep towards the inside of the knees and the second security strip from the inside of the quadricep towards the outside of the knee.
- Round the tape ends.
- Place the first security strip with 0% tension to finish along the inside of the knee.
- Place the second security strip along the inside of the groin forming an X-pattern to finish along the outside of the knee.
- Rub in the tape to activate the adhesive.
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How do you prevent quad strain?
To prevent quad strain, make sure that you properly warm your muscles up before doing your exercise routine and lend enough time to cool down after. Additionally, strengthening your quad muscles will make you less prone to quad pain and injuries.
What are the best exercises to strengthen your quads?
Strengthening your quads is one of the best ways that you can reduce the risk of injury, especially for quad strain in the first place. It’s important to remember though that for these exercises, you need to maintain proper form to target the right muscles.
It’s also important to note that we are not medical experts. So, we highly advise that you seek advice from a medical professional on how to best manage your injury.
Here are some of the best strengthening exercises for quad strain:
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
- Kneel on the affected leg.
- Next, bend the unaffected leg forward with your foot flat on the floor.
- While keeping your posture good with your back straight, gradually push your hip forward. Do this until you can feel a stretch in the upper thigh of your back leg and hip.
- Hold the pose for fifteen to thirty seconds.
- Repeat two to four times.
Foam Roll your Quads
- With the foam roller placed under your quads, start by positioning yourself in a plank position.
- Tighten your core and don’t arch your spine.
- Then, roll from above the kneecaps to the top of the thighs.
- Try to look for areas of tension from the inside of the leg and the outer part of it.
- Repeat ten times.
- Start in a standing position with your feet placed a little wider than your hips.
- Put your weight onto your heels as you slowly lower your hips into a sitting position. Engage your abdominal muscles and keep your chest up as you do this.
- Lower your hips until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. While doing so, your thighs and glutes should feel tight.
- Pause as your knees are positioned over (but not beyond) your toes.
- Go back to your starting position as you breathe out.
- Repeat ten times.
- Start in the standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. To protect your hamstrings from overstretching, have a micro-bend in your knee.
- Position your barbells in front of you and slowly lower your shoulders with your finger grazing in front of your body. Keep your gaze forward and your shoulders lifted up and back.
- When your fingers hit the middle of your shin, slowly rise back up. Squeeze your glutes as you reach a standing position again.
- Repeat ten times.
- Position yourself with one foot in front of the other.
- Next, drop your body straight down. Make sure that your knee stays behind your toe.
- Ensure that you’re looking forward and your back straight as you lower your body.
- Repeat ten times for each leg.
- Start by standing on one leg. If you need support, you can hold on to a chair or wall for support.
- Next, raise your other leg while bent at the knee
- Try to touch the foot to your buttocks.
- Hold this position for a few seconds before releasing it back to the ground.
With a little bit of knowledge and the right tools, it is possible to prevent quadriceps strain from happening in the future. Be sure to stretch after any athletic activity or intense workout session, take time off when you need it, and consult with your doctor if you feel that something isn't quite right!
Thanks for reading and we hope you found this article helpful!