Muscle Strains in the Thigh: Symptoms & Prevention

A muscle strain refers to a muscle pull or tear and it is an extremely common injury in people who are active in sports. There are three sets of strong muscles in the thigh: hamstring muscle located at the back of the thigh, quadriceps muscles located at the front and adductor muscles located on the inside. The hamstring muscle and quadriceps muscle works in tandem to allow extension and flexion of the leg while the adductor muscles help to pull the legs together. The hamstring and quadriceps muscle are at higher risk for muscle strains as they cross both of the hip and knee joint. Additionally, they are involved in high speed activities such as running and sprinting.

Symptoms

A person experiencing muscle strain in the thigh may hear frequent popping sounds due to the tearing of the muscles. The onset of pain is sudden and intense. The area surrounding the thigh will also be tender to the touch and swelling will be visible. The thigh muscle will be weak and in serious cases, inability to use the muscle.

Treatment

Swelling and localised bleeding can be easily managed by applying ice packs to the affected area. After swelling has lessen, heat pack can then be applied. However, heat pack should not be applied if swelling is still present as this will increase swelling and pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen or ibuprofen should be taken to reduce pain and facilitate movement. PRICE technique comprising of Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation should be performed. The strained thigh should be protected from further injury. The thigh should then be rested and all activities should be stopped with immediate effect. The thigh should be iced every 20 minutes to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Small bags of frozen peas are extremely handy tools. At the end of the day, the thigh should be compressed using elastic bandages or thigh guards. It should also be elevated to allow fluid to drain off.

This is followed by gentle resistance exercises to align the scar tissues formed during the healing process. Aligning the scar tissues help to enhance the tensile strength of the thigh muscles. Resistance bands are handy tools to help improve muscle function and reduce the risk of a recurrent injury. Once the core strength is regained, a return to functional activities will then be possible. Compression shorts or thigh supports will help to further strengthen the thigh.

Hamstring Muscle Injuries: Cause & Treatments

Hamstring injuries are a common occurrence in athletes. They are usually known as “pulled hamstring”. Sports requiring frequent sprinting such as soccer, rugby and basketball poses a higher risk of a hamstring injury. Hamstring injuries happen when the muscle location at the back of the thigh is injured in the form of a strain. Fortunately, this type of injury respond well to nonsurgical treatment. In this article, we will look at the causes and treatment methods for a pulled hamstring.

The main cause of a hamstring injury is due to overloading of the hamstring muscle. The hamstring is a tendon which is essentially a thick bundle of fibers. During a normal scenario, the tendon contracts and shortens and expands and extends. In unusual situations, this tendon contracts and extend due to the presence of an additional load or strain. When this situation happens, the hamstring is pulled, resulting in a hamstring muscle injury.

Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the injury. Most hamstring injuries can recover with nonsurgical treatment. The first treatment administered will be the RICE protocol – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Resting involves the usage of walking aids such as crutches to avoid placing weight on the injured leg. During this period, the patient is not allowed to participate in any activities. Several times a day, the injured leg needs to be iced in order to bring down the swelling. To prevent swelling and loss of blood, compression garments will need to be worn. This will also help to retain body heat and enhance blood circulation. Lastly, the injured leg needs to be elevated above the heart to drain away excess blood. Once pain and swelling has subsided, a series of physical therapy sessions will be planned for in order to regain strength and range of motion to slowly help return back to sports.

If nonsurgical treatment does not help, surgery will be required. This is usually for cases where the hamstring tendon has been completely torn from the bone. To repair the torn tendon, the hamstring muscle must be located and placed back to its original location. Due to this injury, the body naturally forms scar tissues at the injury site and this must be removed as well. After that, the tendon will be reattached back using biodegradable sutures. This is followed by an intense rehabilitation period lasting at least 3 months.

Patients with hamstring injuries are able to fully recover after completing their rehabilitation plan. Most are able to return back to their pre-injury level and enjoy their favorite sport.

 

Common Upper Back and Neck Injuries

Our neck is one of the part of our body that is used a lot throughout the day and neck. Our neck is extremely flexible but due to the lack of any form of muscle support, it has to bear the weight and stress of our head, placing it at a high risk of injury. Any forms of sudden impact can cause serious injuries and damages to the ligaments. Our spine runs from our back to the neck and it communicates with the entire body by sending nerve signals. One thing that many people fail to recognise is that pain in the arm could be a sign that something is wrong with the neck and not the arm itself since nerve signals are sent through the body. What are some of the common upper back and neck injuries experienced by many?

Muscle sprain

A muscle sprain occurs when there is an injury to the connective tissues called the ligaments either due to sudden twisting motions or injuries such as falls. Some common symptoms of a muscle sprain includes pain, swelling and a loss of flexibility in that region. Depending on the cause, it can be mild or severe.

Muscle strain

The main difference between a strain and a sprain is that strain is an injury to the muscle. Muscle strain can occur due to reasons such as improper posture while lifting a heavy object. Similar to a neck sprain, symptoms of muscle strain includes pain, swelling and loss of flexibility as well as muscle spasm, indicating an injury to the muscle.

Cricked neck

A cricked neck or stiff neck occurs due to prolonged non movement in a certain position such as sleeping or long hours of improper posture while using the computer. It is often due to muscle spasm and can usually be treated with a hot or cold pack.

Whiplash

Whiplash is a common neck injury to the tendons, muscles and ligaments of the neck due to a sudden force which causes the neck to be moved beyond its range of motion. Some common situations include a vehicle accident whereby a sudden braking motion or an impact after being hit by the car in front or behind, causing the neck to be extended beyond its intended range.

Muscle irritation

Our shoulder is attached by large muscles to the shoulder blade and they can be easily irritated when it is exposed to cyclic loading over a prolonged period of time, causing pain, swelling and strains.

Injuries are often due to sudden impact that causes a strain or sprain to the ligaments and tendons, causing injuries and pain to the patient. The chances of injuries can be reduced by taking proper precautions such as protective sportswear and safe driving techniques.