What is quadriceps strain?

Quadriceps Strain
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Quadriceps strain: Overview

A quadriceps strain happens when you overstretch, or pull, the quadriceps muscle. This big muscle runs down the front of your thigh. A strain can happen when you exercise or lift something or if you are injured in an accident.

You may feel pain and tenderness that's worse when you move your injured leg. Your thigh may be swollen and bruised. If you have a bad strain, you may not be able to move your leg normally.

A minor strain often heals well with rest and other treatment. But a severe strain may require medical treatment. If a severe strain isn't treated, you may have long-term problems.

How can you care for a quadriceps strain?

  • Rest your injured leg. Don't put weight on it for a day or two. If your doctor advises you to, use crutches to rest the leg.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the front of your thigh for 10 to 20 minutes at a time to stop swelling. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • Wrapping your thigh with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap), will help decrease swelling. Don't wrap it too tightly, since this can cause more swelling below the affected area.
  • Elevate your thigh on pillows while applying ice and anytime you are sitting or lying down.
  • Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Don't do anything that makes the pain worse. Return to your usual level of activity slowly.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.

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