Our legs require the use of numerous muscles to function properly and get us around, but the quadriceps femoris is deserving of some special attention due to its extremely crucial role. The quadriceps femoris, which is usually referred to simply as the quadriceps, or quads, is actually a muscle group composed of four muscles in the front of the thigh. These muscles are the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and rectus femoris. Each muscle serves a specific purpose in the functioning of the leg, but the muscles themselves and the tendons by which they attach to bones are also vulnerable to injuries like strains and tears. Tears of the rectus femoris are rare, but when they do occur, New York City physical therapy is always necessary for a full recovery.
The primary function of the quadriceps is to move the knee. These four muscles become active both when you bend and straighten the knee, and they are involved in just about every movement that your leg makes. The quadriceps are balanced by the hamstring muscles, another muscle group on the back of the thighs. Together, they are responsible for all movements of the knees and hips, and each muscle group performs the opposite function of the other.
The rectus femoris is the large quadriceps muscle that runs from the pelvis, down the center of the front of the thigh, and then connects with the patella (kneecap). It is used to straighten and lift the knee up, and it is also the primary muscle involved in flexing the hips. Due to its role, there are often very large forces that are transmitted through the rectus femoris, which puts it at risk for certain injuries.
The rectus femoris tendon connects the top of the muscle to the pelvis, and it can become inflamed or torn at this location if it experiences too great of a force. Tears of the rectus femoris tendon are not very common, and they usually occur over time in middle-aged athletes who play sports that involve lots of running, jumping or kicking. If a tear does occur, it will result in a sudden, sharp pain at the front of the hip or in the groin, usually while doing some type of explosive activity. The injury may also lead to swelling, bruising and tenderness, as well as pain when lifting the knee up against resistance.
New York City physical therapy can help regardless of the type of tear
Treatment for rectus femoris tears will depend on its seriousness and the goals of the patient. Partial tears can often be treated with New York City physical therapy along with some other interventions to reduce pain levels, but large, complete tears may require surgery to repair it. Even if surgery is recommended, though, physical therapy is typically needed afterwards to help with the recovery process. Regardless of when New York City physical therapy begins, a typical treatment program will consist of the following components:
- RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation
- Stretching exercises
- Strengthening exercises
Although rectus femoris tears are not very common, they can still be devastating injuries that can lead to significant periods of time away from sports and other activities. Fortunately, our expert physical therapists remain ever-committed to finding a way to decrease the amount of time needed to recover from injuries like these. So if you’ve recently injured your quadriceps or are dealing with any other type of pain, we invite you to visit us for a New York City physical therapy treatment program. Contact Dynamic Sports Physical Therapy at 212-317-8303 to schedule an appointment today, or click here to for more information on rectus femoris tears.