Physiotherapy for Front of Thigh (Quads) Pain

The front of the thigh is the location of the muscle group known as the quadriceps or ‘quads’. This muscle group contains 4 muscles including the vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis and rectus femoris. Most injuries to the front of the thigh will happen suddenly (acutely), although in rare cases it is possible to also get tendinopathies in the quadriceps muscles or even stress fractures in the thigh bone (femur).

Diagnosing injuries to the Quads Muscles and Early Management

Acute thigh injuries can be diagnosed as either a contusion (a “cork”) or a muscle strain. A contusion is a severe bruise that occurs inside the muscle. It usually results from something hitting the thigh with significant force. Muscle strains are a tear in the muscle fibres that can vary in severity. They usually result from a sudden change in speed or direction when running or playing sport. Strains can sometimes even occur when slipping and landing awkwardly.

Quads contusions and strains are treated similarly; however, recovery time is usually much faster for a contusion than for a muscle strain, particularly for more severe injuries. Strains need to be managed more carefully as they heal more slowly and have a much higher chance of recurrence if not managed well. Initially, both should be treated with rest and ice and both should undergo a progressive and functional strengthening program.

What else could be causing my Quads Pain?

The skin on the front of the thigh is predominantly supplied by the femoral nerve, which means that it is also an area that commonly experiences referred pain, particularly from the spine. If you find that you’re getting pain in your back as well as the front of your thigh and you have not experienced any sudden injuries directly to the quads, referred pain is the likely source. In this instance, it becomes more important to treat the spine to reduce pain rather than directly treating the thigh. Sometimes taping or other manual techniques can help to offload the femoral nerve and reduce your thigh symptoms, but the majority of treatment will be targeted at the spine.

All these conditions are frequently managed by our physiotherapists so book in at Glebe Physio today to ensure your injury is rehabilitated safely and effectively. If you have any further questions, get in touch via the Contact Us page!

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Please note that the information we provide on web pages like this one are for general information and educational purposes. We recommend speaking to a qualified physiotherapist or exercise physiologist to assess your individual situation.