Painful Quads? Here’s What’s Going On

Painful Quads

Your quads (quadriceps) are the muscles at the front of the thigh and connect together via a tendon close to the kneecap (patella). As the quad muscles work to straighten our knee from a bent position, like standing up from a chair, quad pain can make it very uncomfortable to perform simple daily tasks.

Today, we’re explaining what’s going on when you start experiencing quad pain – and what you can do to help recover.

What causes quad pain?

Quad pain occurs when the quadriceps muscles, or the quadriceps tendon, are irritated or damaged. It is typically an overuse injury, meaning that it often occurs from doing repetitive activities that engage the quads for prolonged periods, while overloading or putting excess strain on the muscles and tendon. Examples include squats, weight-lifting, rugby and running sports.

Other factors that may contribute to the development of tendinopathy include:

  • Misalignment in the lower limbs, including abnormal foot biomechanics
  • Knee alignment issues, including the irregular movement of the patella
  • Muscle tightness, like in the iliotibial band
  • Unsupportive footwear
  • Poor training techniques that overload the quads and knees

What other symptoms might I experience?

Aside from knee and thigh pain, you may experience stiffness at the knee, muscle weakness, swelling, and tenderness that is exacerbated by standing up from a seated position.

How to treat quad pain

Unlike an arm that you can put in a sling and avoid using for a few weeks while it heals, you can’t help but use your quads and quadriceps tendon because of its function in walking and standing. This means that treating this pain takes time and care to not aggravate it further. It is also important to not only treat the painful symptoms but address any underlying problems to stop it from coming back in the future. Additionally, we often recommend treatments like reformer pilates in Toowoomba to help address these underlying issues and strengthen the body.

Steps you can take at home before you come to see us include:

  • Icing the thigh or knee, through a towel, intermittently for 20 minutes at a time
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID’s) like ibuprofen can help reduce swelling, which helps with pain
  • Avoiding activities that cause pain and tenderness, and resting the muscles

Here at The Podiatrist, we will help you by:

  • Conducting a comprehensive assessment to determine what has caused and contributed to the development of your injury, including a treadmill gait analysis
  • Creating a treatment plan to help you recover and (ideally) get back to being pain-free – while helping prevent the problem from recurring
  • Helping correct any alignment issues with the knees, legs and feet using orthotics and the right footwear for your foot type
  • Addressing any muscle tightness with static and dynamic stretches at appropriate intervals during your recovery
  • Strengthening any muscle weakness or imbalance using strengthening exercises, specifically in the knee and hip
  • Strapping or bracing the thigh or knee to optimise your recovery

Our goal is to get you back to your regular and pain-free movement. We help you optimise your health – so you can realise your full potential! To book an appointment with our experienced podiatry team, call us on (07) 4638 3022 or book online here.

Optimise Health provides services to Toowoomba, Darling Downs & the surrounds.

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