Leg muscle strains (tears) can occur with sudden movements like jumping or a sudden sprint. Sometimes these injuries involve the adductor (groin) muscles, quadricep (thigh) muscles, hamstring muscles, and calf muscles. Sometimes with this injury, bruising and swelling occurs. If you suspect that you’ve had a muscle strain injury, follow the RICE protocol as an initial treatment. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate the affected area. If your pain is not improving after 2 or 3 days, or you notice bruising or swelling, please call our office to make an appointment.
Muscle strain (tear)
Quadricep, hamstring, and calf muscle injuries are common in athletes and active adults. These muscles exert powerful forces on the knee and lower leg. Muscle strains occur in sports that involve sprinting, jumping, or kicking like soccer. Also, running downhill and running with fatigued muscles like at the end of an endurance race can increase the risk of a muscle strain.
Based on some studies, quadricep strains are more likely to involve the dominant leg. Prior quadricep or hamstring injury can also increase the risk of additional injury possibly due to muscle strength imbalances.
Muscle strains commonly cause pain and gait dysfunction. Sometimes this happens immediately, but can take a couple days to present. Pain can be mild or severe depending on the severity of the injury, and sometimes swelling and bruising are present. With larger tears or tendon tears, sometimes a “pop” is felt.
A careful history and exam are important to properly diagnose muscle and tendon injuries. Additionally, at Sports Health Northwest, our sports injury specialist utilizes ultrasound to aid in the evaluation of muscle strains and even monitor healing.
Initial treatment for various grades of muscle strains are similar in that it is important to use the Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) therapeutic intervention and see a sports medicine doctor for worsening symptoms or pain lasting more than 3-5 days