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Quadricep Strain and Running


Pain in the front of thigh. A strain will produce a dull ache while a tear will result in sudden intense pain which will be accompanied by swelling or bruises.

Function of Quadriceps

The term "quadriceps" is derived from the Latin root meaning, "four heads." We can list the four heads of the quads as: the vastus medialis, (that teardrop shaped muscle on the inside of the thigh just above the knee), the rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, and vastus lateralis. The quads cross both the hip and the knee joints as do the hamstrings.

When the knee is locked out in extension with movement taking place at the hip, the quads work together with the hip flexors to flex the hip. On the other hand, when the hip is fixated with movement taking place at the knee, the quads function as extensors of the knee.

How it affects your running

You may have to cease all training for 1-4 weeks depending on the severity of the injury.

Causes of Quadricep Strain and Injury

A quadricep strain usually results from a muscular imbalance between the quadriceps and the hamstrings. The hamstrings over power the weaker quadriceps which results in a strain or tear of the muscle.

Contributing factors include increase sub-taler joint pronation (foot imbalance) which causes an imbalance between the quadriceps and the hamstrings.

Treatment Quadricep Strain and Injury

Initial treatment should consist of an ice pack. Some runners prefer to use a wet towel that has been in the fridge. We recommend you use commercially available ice packs for focused pain relief.

Anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen will help to release the swelling. Please note this should be taken with meals and never before running.

The gentle use of the quadricep stretch is a vital aspect of the treatment regime.

We also strongly recommend the use of sports orthotics/ insoles to dramatically speed up recovery time. Quadricep supports provide compression and stability to the affected muscle to increase the healing phase of the injury.

Quadricep Stretch

Stand straight with your injured leg bent. Grasp the foot of your injured leg with your hand and slowly pull your heel to your buttocks. You should feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat the stretch six to eight times. This stretching exercise may be helpful for patello-femoral syndrome, iliotibial band syndrome and patellar tendonitis.

Recent sports studies have suggested that “retro-running” can stretch and strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings to improve stability. Retro running is walking or running backwards. It is important to start slowly with a slow walk and progress to a gentle jog. Choose a smooth, flat road or you can utilize a treadmill with handrails for support. Alternate your neck position position to prevent strains and limit your retro running to two sessions per week starting from 50 meters and progressing to 500 meters.

Strengthening the quadriceps by doing biking and leg extensions will help to prevent future occurrences of the condition.

Orthotic Information

Orthotics can help you with your foot and leg problems. Orthotics work on your feet in the same way the braces work on the teeth - by exerting gentle consistent pressure to bring your foot muscles and back into proper alignment.

Quadricep Strain and RunningQuadricep Strain


Without orthotics With orthotics

Insoles/Orthotics have been used for years to help people with overpronation. Traditionally when we think of insoles or orthotics we think of a hard plastic insert that is placed in the shoe. It cups the heel and supports the arch but because it is not flexible it does not extend the full length of the foot. This tends to make this type of orthotic uncomfortable, and ineffective for many people.

It also repositions the arch using "brute force." Because it is not flexible it forces the arch into it's correct position but does nothing to relieve the pressure that is forcing the arch to collapse, causing Quadricep Strain, in the first place. This type of hard plastic orthotic can actually cause increased pain in Quadricep Strain patients, which is the reason why we have recommended the Dr Foot Sport Insoles for the treatment of overpronation. They provide a flexible yet incredibly supportive and stable treatment for Quadricep Strains.

Your feet are the only pair you will ever have. You are wise to take good care of them.

About 80% of the population have structural problems in their feet which cause abnormal walking patterns.

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"...looking forward to receiving my second pair of Dr Foot Insoles as they have done wonders for my feet. I've been working up to 11-12 hr. a day in a packing factory and have had no pain in my arch area, they feel great!"

Julie S Fall, New York USA