Quadriceps Injuries And When You Should Visit A Doctor

March 2nd, 2020 Becki Andrus

Anatomy Of Your Quadriceps

Your quadriceps muscles are often referred to as your quads, and they are located at the front of your thighs. This group is comprised of four specific muscles – vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and the rectus femoris

Your quadriceps are tasked with assisting in movements that are involved with walking, running, and advancing upstairs, along with other activities that require the need to straighten your leg.

Your quadriceps muscles are also attached to your patella – which is often referred to as your kneecap – by the quadriceps tendon. You also have a patella tendon that attaches to your tibia or shin bone, which also assists in the process of leg movement.

Common Injuries Of The Quadriceps

While your quadriceps are usually highly dependable, it is possible to experience an injury to these muscles. This usually occurs due to overuse. The most frequent form of quadriceps injury is a contusion that results from a direct impact on your thigh. This occurs most often through involvement in sports or recreational activities. Some contusions are milder than others, and the symptoms will vary based upon the degree of severity.

Quadriceps tendonitis involves inflammation of the muscle and tendon that is located above your patella (kneecap). This often occurs due to extensive use of the muscles during participation in sports such as running, soccer, and volleyball. Any other form of activity that requires sudden starting, stopping or turning can increase the risk of tendonitis to develop in your quadriceps. Particularly if your movements are repetitive, or involve sizable force.    

Jumpers knee is yet another issue as the result of repetitive movement that primarily involves jumping. Participation in sports such as basketball or volleyball will raise the risk of this injury taking place. Your weight and the angle with which you land your jump are also determining factors in the development of this condition.

It is also possible to encounter a quadriceps strain which often occurs as the result of a sudden movement. You will often experience immediate and noticeable pain if this condition emerges. There are multiple types of quadriceps strains, with grade 1 involving the fewest associated symptoms while a grade 2 strain delivers additional pain, swelling, and a reduction in your strength. A grade 3 pull is more serious, as the quadriceps muscle fibers experience a full rupture.

A quadriceps tendon tear can take place if the quadricep muscles absorb the majority of impact when you complete a jump or incur a sizable amount of pressure on the muscles while your foot is planted. The pressure that results can create a tear and this issue can also occur due to a fall. If you are already contending with a chronic condition that has reduced the strength in your tendon, then the risk of encountering a tear increases.

In some cases, a quadriceps tendon tear can be partial. But in other situations, this injury involves a complete tear that separates the tendon from your kneecap. This will prevent you from straightening your knee.

Stretching Your Quadriceps

You can improve your chances of eluding a quadriceps issue by making sure that you stretch your muscles. This involves standing adjacent to a wall in order to receive sufficient support. You can carefully lift your heel upward while holding your ankle, then also lifting it back. This will provide a stretch to the front of your thigh.

You can also undergo a helpful stretch process simply by lying on your back. You can bend one knee while keeping your opposite leg straight. Then, lift the straightened leg until it is even with your bent knee on the other side.   

Symptoms Of Quadriceps Injuries

If you are contending with a quadriceps strain your symptoms will escalate based upon the level of seriousness with your issue. A grade 1 strain will result in some pain or a pulling sensation in your thigh, while a grade 2 strain will cause bruising, swelling, tenderness of the muscles and reduction in your strength. Unfortunately, the serious nature of a grade 3 strain will create more intense pain and you will likely lose your ability to walk.

If you are experiencing discomfort in the area directly above your knee, then this can be an indication that you are contending with tendonitis. Swelling, stiffness, and burning are additional signs that this condition is present. Since a contusion of the quadriceps can emerge as the result of a direct impact on the muscles, you will already be aware that this has taken place. Any pain, tightness, or swelling will increase the likelihood that this condition has developed.  

What A Doctor Will Do

If you visit your physician, he or she will ask a series of questions regarding the symptoms that have led to your appointment. You will also discuss your activities, your medical history, and the history of your family members, All of which will be designed toward determining whether you are contending with an injury. Your physician could also order testing in the form of x-rays and MRIs in order to confirm the diagnosis.


Your doctor will then proceed with a treatment plan that is built based upon the specifics of your injury, your overall health, and the most effective way for you to regain a normal lifestyle. Some treatments will consist of keeping your knee immobilized during a recovery period. This could involve the use of a crutch or brace that will safeguard you from additional health challenges.

Your physician could recommend medications that will reduce your level of discomfort, while physical therapy might also be included in your treatment plan. During situations in which your injury is more significant, surgery will be necessary in order to restore your normal movements and lifestyle.

At Orthopedic Associates We Can Help

If you experienced any of the symptoms that were described previously – bruising, cramping, tenderness, or find it difficult to walk, then we encourage you to visit us at Orthopedic Associates.  This is also the case if you have any questions regarding your quadriceps of knees. Because we have the expertise and commitment to help whenever you have any questions or concerns. Our collection of board-certified doctors can provide vast knowledge that can only result from their combined 183 years of experience.

This includes our veteran team of knee specialists, whose expertise and dedication is beneficial toward his ability to design an effective plan of treatment for a wide range of foot conditions including:

  • Anatomy of the Knee
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear (ACL Tear)
  • Avascular Necrosis (Osteonecrosis) of the Knee
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • Fractures of the Tibial Spine
  • Goosefoot (Pes Anserine) Bursitis of the Knee
  • Hamstring Muscle Injuries
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
  • Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Injury
  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury
  • Meniscus Tear
  • Osgood-Schlatter Disease
  • Osteoarthritis of the Knee
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans of the Knee
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Patella Fracture (Broken Knee Cap)
  • Patella Tendon Rupture
  • Patellar Tendonitis (Jumper’s Knee)
  • Patellar Tracking Disorder
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)
  • Prepatellar Bursitis (Kneecap Bursitis)
  • Quadriceps Tendon Tear
  • Septic Arthritis of the Knee
  • Shin Splints (Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome)
  • Supracondylar Femoral Fracture
  • Tibial Fractures
  • Tibial Plateau Fracture
  • Torn Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)

Visit one of the Orthopedic Associates’ two locations or request an appointment today to be on your way to feeling better.

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