Sustaining a partial muscle tear to the quadriceps muscles (a thigh strain) will put a serious dent in your training or competitive program. So how do you avoid it?
A thigh strain is typically caused either by overuse, or by a sudden movement of the leg in sports that involve sprinting or jumping. Symptoms would include pain in the quadriceps muscle, difficulty walking or running, and perhaps pain when bending or straightening your leg.
The first stage of treatment would be to stop your activity and apply an ice wrap. This will need to be reapplied for 20 to 30 minutes every three to four hours for two to three days. Other options include:
- Lying down with your leg elevated
- NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) such as ibuprofen
- Regular painkillers (analgesics)
- Using an elastic thigh wrap when you resume activity
- Physical therapy - this might include exercises, and tissue treatments such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation
Return to normal activities is a very variable thing - returning too soon will simply risk re-injury, so this is a decision best made in conjunction with your therapist.
Avoiding this injury requires proper conditioning (strength and flexibility) and taking the time to warm up and stretch appropriately before any activity.