Doctor’s Corner: How To Manage An Acute Quadriceps Strain

The Author is Isaac Gabriel Otuk, the CEO of Fitness Health Nutrition Sports (FHNS) company.

THE FHNS brand provides sports medicine like injury management and REHABILITATION services, injury Prevention programs and performance enhancing services to Athletes from all sports disciplines in Uganda, East Africa and around the world through its Physical and online medical Platforms.

Practically, the first 24–72h after quadriceps strain should be focused on the RICE principles.(Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).This is the first aid that might be of great help in preventing further damage or enabling Recovery to take place quicker when other modalities are subsequently applied.

A prognosis of around 5-6 weeks basing on the grade of the problem will make us achieve good recovery if proper protocol is followed.

Cryotherapy( icing) accompanied by compression, should be applied for 20–30 minutes at least three times a day between applications.

During this time period, the quadriceps should be kept relatively immobile to allow for appropriate healing and prevent further injury.

A grade 2 or 3 strain may necessitate the use of crutches initially to facilitate rest and immobilization of the quadriceps.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen, diclofenac can be useful for reducing pain and allowing earlier return to activity. The Dosage also depends on the pain scale and thats why I made that inquiry in the previous post. Well, 2 tabs twice a day for 4-5 days start dose and taper down.

If the pain scale goes down, you can do away with them and just continue with icing.

Interesting Note

Remember the process of inflammation is important for healing so you just need to control it not to entirely stop it.

Exercise Rehabilitation After The Acute Phase Of Treatment

It’s not a good idea like most Athletes do to skip this phase because it leads to higher chances of relapse due to poor recovery.

This phase usually begins approximately 3–5 days after the initial injury depending on its severity.


Stretching, strengthening, range of motion, maintenance of aerobic fitness, proprioceptive exercises, and functional training are the primary components of this phase.

Stretching should be done carefully and always to the point of discomfort, but not pain.

Various techniques can be utilized including passive, active–passive, dynamic, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching.


  • Rapid stretching is discouraged due to the risk of re-tearing muscle fibers.
  • An active warm-up should always precede any type of rehabilitation exercises as it has been shown to activate neural pathways in the muscle and reduce muscle viscosity

Strengthening exercises can begin gradually and should progress sequentially through isometric, isotonic, isokinetic, and functional exercises.

Maintaining aerobic fitness during rehabilitation is important and can be accomplished by using activities like swimming and biking.

These activities suggested too should not increase pain in the injured quadriceps and should be performed in a pain-free range of motion.



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