Quite simply, the quadriceps are the muscles on the front of the thigh and the hamstrings are on the back of the thigh. If you are reading this with interest in regards to an injury you have incurred then you might already know this. The function of these muscles covers movements of the knee and also the hip and pelvis.
Strains of these muscles usually happen in a scenario involving running with a quick change of direction or perhaps rapid acceleration or deceleration and usually occur during sporting activity.
Why the quad strain happened is the question that we will try to answer during treatment.
Strains of this nature may be due to a simple accident or there may be underlying causes such as:
- Weakness in the quadriceps muscles
- Flexibility insufficiency
- Imbalances in the muscle systems around the pelvis and knee
- Gait and technique problems
- Poorly managed previous quad injury
- Improper conditioning for chosen activity
For team sports such as AFL and soccer, these types of strains often occur at the start of a season when the body is not conditioned to the forces demanded of it or at the end of the season when the muscles are fatigued from lack of rest.
Fortunately quadriceps muscle tissue heals quite well due to its high supply of blood vessels, however, it is important that muscles do not heal with scar tissue at the site of injury as this leaves a weakness that is likely to re-strain. Physiotherapy can ensure that scar tissue is minimised during the healing process.
The treatment of such injuries is a careful balance of rest and activity. Making sure that a return to sport is not premature is essential as recurring injury is at high risk before proper rehabilitation.