What Is a Thigh Strain?

Nya Bruce

A thigh strain is a type of injury in which tears can occur in the tissue of one or more of the thigh muscles. The hamstring and quadriceps are the two groups of muscles that are susceptible to this type of strain. Strained thigh muscles generally tend to occur as a result of strenuous activity or over-stretching.

Playing a sport like basketball without proper stretching can make someone vulnerable to a thigh strain.
Playing a sport like basketball without proper stretching can make someone vulnerable to a thigh strain.

Thigh strain injuries are typically graded from mild to severe. When the tear is minimal it is called a mild or grade one strain. This type of muscle strain typically causes little to no pain or loss of strength. A partly torn thigh muscle is a grade two or moderate strain. If there is a major tear involved the strain is considered a severe, or a grade three strain.

Soccer players are susceptible to thigh strains if they don't stretch properly.
Soccer players are susceptible to thigh strains if they don't stretch properly.

When a grade one injury first occurs there may be a feeling of tightness and mild discomfort. People suffering from a grade two strain may feel a sudden sharp pain upon injury. The pain is generally sufficient enough so that the activity must come to an end and there may be bruising. Grade three strains will result in immediate swelling and severe pain that prevents a person from continuing activities. People with severe strains will require assistance from others or crutches in order to walk.

The quadriceps are muscles located at the front of the thighs. This group of muscles are susceptible to thigh strain as a result of activities such as soccer, basketball and running. Working out in extreme cold weather and failing to properly stretch out the muscles can also end in this type of strained thigh injury.

Opposite to the quadriceps are the hamstring muscles, which run along the back of the thighs. When thigh strain occurs in this area it can be a result of jumping and other activities that begin and end with a hard and abrupt jolt. It is typically painful, particularly when attempting to straighten or bend the leg. Pain from this type of thigh injury may also radiate to the buttocks.

Without proper rest, a thigh strain injury can worsen. Getting proper rest can be difficult for many people, particularly those who are extremely active. In addition to resting the muscles, proper care involves applying ice to the area and elevating the leg. Compressive bandaging of the thigh may also be required after an injury. Once a thigh has suffered from this type of injury it is often more susceptible to thigh strain in the future.

Failing to warm up and stretch the thighs before performing exercises such as squats can lead to thigh strain.
Failing to warm up and stretch the thighs before performing exercises such as squats can lead to thigh strain.

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