Quadriceps strains are a common sports injury occurring in activities demanding kicking, cutting, sprinting, and deceleration movements. In our Boulder Physical Therapy practice, athletes participating in soccer, football, and rugby report higher incidence of this injury vs. other athletes. Injured athletes can expect to miss practice and competition time equivalent to the degree of muscle strain they experience. On average, athletes miss 2-3 weeks of practice and competition time for each quadriceps strain. Given this lost time, athletes and Physical Therapists are encouraged to understand the risk factors to reduce their risk of future injury.
A recent review of the medical literature was published in the Journal of Sports and Physical Therapy (Pietsch et al. 2022). Authors reviewed 16 studies on over 2400 quadriceps injuries. Authors reported athletes the following intrinsic risk factors for future injury: dominant kicking leg, previous history of quadriceps strain, and a recent hamstring strain. In addition, authors reported athletes were at greater risk with higher practice and competition volume, as well as, competitive match play. Athletes are encouraged to address their individual risk factors especially recent injuries which may not have been properly treated with Physical Therapy before returning to practice or competition.