Thigh Muscle Strain

What are thigh muscle strains, and how are they treated?

Muscle strain (also known as a pulled muscle) usually happens when a muscle is stretched beyond its limit.

For example, muscle strain in the hip or thigh is quite common and can happen to people of all ages when the muscle is overstretched or torn due to fatigue, overuse, or improper use.

Hip and thigh muscle strain occurs rather easily because the hips and thighs have important muscles involved in most activities such as running, basketball, football, and other sports.

Hip and thigh muscle strain usually occurs at the point where the muscle joins the fibrous connective tissue of the tendon. It can be quite painful when the hip or thigh muscle fibers are torn.

If you are experiencing pain in the hip or thigh that interferes with mobility, then schedule a consultation with the team at OrthoNeuro.

Our orthopedic surgeons provide state-of-the-art diagnosis and personalized treatment. So call or book an appointment now.

Symptoms of Thigh Muscle Strain

Thigh muscle strain is often confused with a sprain in the leg. Strains and sprains have similar symptoms, but they involve different body parts.

Anatomy of the Thigh

There are three types of muscles in the thigh:

  • Quadricep muscles: The quadriceps muscles are located in the front of the thigh and are used to extend and flex the leg.
  • Hamstring muscles: The hamstring muscles are located in the back of the thigh and are used to extend and flex the leg.
  • Adductor muscles: The adductor muscles pull the legs together and are located on the inside of the thigh.

The hamstring and quadriceps muscle groups are crossed at the knee and the hip. The position of these muscles puts them at a high risk of being strained.

A sprain is the tearing or stretching of the ligaments (tough bands of fibrous tissue) in the body. A strain is a tearing or stretching of the muscles in the body.

Some signs and symptoms of a thigh muscle strain are:

  • A popping or snapping sensation in the area of the thigh
  • Bruising in the thigh (possible if the blood vessels have been broken)
  • Sudden and severe pain
  • The thigh being tender to the touch

If you experience any of these symptoms, see a healthcare professional immediately.

How Is a Thigh Muscle Strain Diagnosed?

A physician will start to diagnose a strained muscle in the hip and or thigh by discussing your medical history and by gathering information about the injury.

They will also ask you about your symptoms and check your thigh and hip area for bruising and tenderness.

A physician will then examine the range of motion in your hip and knee joints by asking you to bend and straighten your knee.

A physician will most likely take diagnostic images such as x-rays of the area.

Based on the information your physician collects, they will diagnose your muscle strain on a scale of 1 to 3 based on the degree of severity.

The degrees of muscle strain severity are listed and explained below:

First-degree strainDamage to a few muscle fibers. Symptoms may not be fully apparent right after the incident. There might be a feeling of cramps or tightness in the thigh muscles.

This type of injury can most likely heal rather quickly.

Second-degree strain: Extensive damage to the muscle fibers. There is usually severe pain immediately after the injury. The thigh is usually sore to the touch and there is pain when walking.

Third-degree strain: A serious injury where the muscle has completely ruptured. There is an immediate pain after the injury that can be described as “burning and stabbing” that causes the injured person to be unable to walk.

With this degree of strain, there is usually bruising and a depression located on the thigh where the tear is.

What Is the Treatment for a Strained Thigh Muscle?

Hip and thigh muscle strains can often heal without surgery. Resting the leg will relieve the pressure on the muscle and slightly ease the pain until active rehabilitation can be started.

The treatments for a strained muscle in the thigh include:

  • Rest (avoid activities that will aggravate the leg)
  • Over-the-counter medicine (such as ibuprofen or aspirin)
  • Applying ice to the area for 10 to 15 minutes per day
  • Compression of the area (lightly wrapping a bandage around the leg to prevent swelling)
  • Keeping the leg elevated (the leg should be higher than your heart)
  • Physical therapy (will improve the range of motion in the leg)

When a muscle is strained, it becomes vulnerable to reinjury. Therefore, it is important to let the muscle heal properly before returning to physical activities like sports.

It can take from 3 weeks to 3 months for a muscle strain to heal, depending on the severity of the strain.

Contact Us

If you have pain in the thigh that affects your mobility and want to know if you have a strained thigh muscle, schedule a consultation online today at OrthoNeuro.

Our orthopedic surgeons provide state-of-the-art diagnosis and personalized treatment.

Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Hip Specialist Today!

If you are suffering from hip or thigh muscle strains, schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Orthopedic Hip Specialists at one of our 7 convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus. 

We will evaluate your unique lifestyle and goals to determine which type of treatment is best for you. Best of all, most patients can be seen within 24 hours of making an appointment.

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