Stretching exercises are an important part of thigh muscle injury rehabilitation. After an injury the muscle usually tightens up to protect the injury and prevent further injury.
Whilst this may be useful in the early stages, it can slow the process of returning to sport and make you more prone to future injuries if not corrected. Below we outline some simple stretching and mobility exercises that should be used as part of a thigh strain rehabilitation program. We recommend seeking professional advice before attempting any self help.
Active range of motion exercises
This exercise is useful in the early stages of rehabilitation whilst motion is particularly limited. Simply bend and straighten the knee through its full range of motion. This can be done in the sitting position, the standing position and lying down. Perform 10 reps at a time, at least 3 times a day.
Static quadriceps stretch
This can be performed in either standing, or laying on your front. Pull the foot of the injured leg towards your buttock until you can feel a gentle stretch on the front of the thigh. To increase the stretch, tilt your hips backwards. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times. Do this at least 3 times a day.
Play quadriceps stretch video.
Passive quadriceps stretch
This involves using some external force to help stretch the muscles. You can perform either this stretch or the static quad stretch above, there is no need to do both! You can use a wall by standing in front of it, bending the knee and leaning back onto the foot. Or you can get a partner to push your leg in the laying down stretch. Again, hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 3 times, at least 3 times a day.
Hip flexor stretch
This stretch will focus on the rectus femoris and Iliopsoas muscles. Kneel with one knee on the floor and the other foot out in front with the knee bent. Push your hips forwards and keep the back upright. You should feel a stretch at the front of the hip and top of the thigh. Hold for 20-30 seconds, repeat 3 times, at least 3 times a day.