Injuries explained: Thigh
The thigh is made up of three different muscles groups – the quadriceps (at the front of the leg), the hamstring (at the back of the leg) and the adductors (at the inside of your leg) – and one of the most common thigh injuries is the thigh strain.
A strain is when a muscle fiber is overstretched to a certain point where a muscle tear occurs. These can vary from a minor muscle tear to a full thickness muscle tear.
What causes a thigh strain?
There are many factors, which may increase your risk of getting a thigh strain, and the most common include:
- Muscle fatigue
- Muscle tightness
- Muscle weakness
- Inadequate warm up
- Previously having had a strain in the same area
- Poor/inadequate exercise technique
What would you feel if you strained your thigh?
You may feel a pulling pain, hear a pop or get a snapping feeling. You will likely feel pain in the affected thigh muscle while doing activities that contract it and there may be swelling, bruising or tenderness in the area. The thigh muscle will also be sore when you stretch it.
What do you do if you have a thigh strain?
Initially you should ice, rest and add compression to the area. Physiotherapy treatments are also helpful including ultrasound initially, massage, dry-needling and taping. Once the pain has settled it is important to ensure the muscle has regained strength and flexibility prior to recommencing sport. Rehabilitation will vary depending on the severity of the strain and your physiotherapist will guide your exercises.
How do you prevent thigh strains?
Always make time for warming up before, and stretching post exercise. When you are starting a new type of exercise ensure that you start easy and build up gradually. Also make sure that you have adequate technique and strength for the sport you are doing.