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Quadriceps Contusion

The quadriceps muscle is the large muscle group located on the front of the thigh. It is the muscle that straightens (extends) your knee joint and which a portion of bends (flexes) the hip.

A direct blow to the anterior thigh results in a quadriceps contusion. This is common in contact sports. There will be pain and tenderness at the site of the blow to the thigh. Pain will be exacerbated by resisted contraction and passive stretching of the quadriceps. In most cases a haematoma will form.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Quadriceps Contusion

Your physiotherapist will assess you and determine the severity of the contusion as this will determine your prognosis i.e. how long before you can return to sport. Initially treatment will aim to control the haemorrhage (bleeding). This may include the use of ice, elevation, compression and electrotherapeutic modalities. You may also be given crutches at this time if you cannot fully weight bear through the leg. It is important to also rest to allow time for healing. Following approximately the first 48 hours, treatment would move onto regaining full movement. This would involve pain free stretches and exercise as well as some gentle soft tissue massage. Following this therapy would move onto functional rehabilitation and gradual return to sport.

The only complication of a quadriceps contusion is if the haematoma calcifies. This may happen a few weeks after the initial injury. This will limit the ability of the knee to bend. Unfortunately nothing can accelerate the absorption of the calcified haematoma however physiotherapy such as electrotherapy and pain free exercise may help to reduce discomfort and muscle spasm.