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How to prevent Quadriceps injuries

Are you one of those people who is forever injured? Always finding yourself starting an exercise routine before succumbing to yet  another injury? Here are Insync Physiotherapy we will provide you with the latest research on sports injury prevention which will help keep you fit and healthy.

Today, our Sports Injury prevention blog will focus on the quadriceps muscle.

The quadriceps is a group of four muscles that run down the front of your thigh. These four muscles are called vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and rectus femoris. All four of these muscles act to forcefully extend (straighten) the knee. Additionally, rectus femoris also acts to flex (bend) the hip. The quadriceps are a common injury for athletes in kicking sports such as AFL, rugby and soccer as well as high intensity running sports like track and field. A study by Eckard et al (2017) found that the quadriceps were one of the most common muscle strains among American College athletes with data from 25 different sports.

The rectus femoris muscle is the most commonly injured quadricep and is associated with the longest recovery time. A study by Cross et al (2004) found an average rehabilitation time of 27 days for rectus femoris muscle strains. This muscle is most susceptible during its lengthening phase which occurs when the leg is taken back in preparation for kicking or before striding forward. During this movement, there is a rapid increase in muscle tension which leads to greater chance of injury.

Now that you understand the muscles involved, the question remains, how do can you avoid this serious injury that could potentially sideline  you for up to 30 days?

The answer – Reverse Nordics. This exercise acts to strengthen the quadriceps during its lengthening phase – when it is most susceptible to injury. A recent study by Fernandez et al (2019) found significant changes in rectus femoris muscle length and thickness after 8 weeks of reverse Nordic exercises. These changes will not only increase your quadriceps strength and flexibility, but will significantly reduce your risk of injury.

If you are that person who is constantly straining their quadriceps then you need to do this exercise! Read on for the latest research in quadriceps injury prevention and improve your chances of staying on the field or in the gym longer. All it takes are the following three easy steps. .

  1. Get on your knees and cross your arms across your chest.
  2. Whilst keeping your hips forward slowly lean back from your hips. You will feel an increase in tension as your quadriceps lengthen slowly.
  3. Contract your quadriceps and bring yourself back to the starting position.

Perform this exercise starting at 2 sets of 6 reps and progress to 3 sets of 10-12 reps as comfortable.

Don’t wait before you suffer another injury, take action now and protect yourself.

Stay tuned for Part 4 of our  evidence based injury prevention exercises that will focus on ankle sprains. This is a must read for any athlete who constantly sprains their ankles.