Thigh Strain Diagnosis & Assessment

Thigh strain assessment

A thigh strain is a tear to one of the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh. Thigh strains are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on how bad they are. Here we explain thigh strain diagnosis and how to tell what grade of injury you have.

How bad is my thigh strain?

A thigh strain (quadriceps muscle tear) causes sudden acute pain at the front of the thigh. Muscle strains are graded 1 to 3 depending on how bad they are an how much of the muscle has torn.


Grade 1

  • If you have a grade 1 quad strain then it may not feel bad enough to stop training at the time.
  • You might feel a twinge in the thigh, with a general feeling of tightness.
  • Walking may cause mild discomfort and running might be difficult.
  • You are unlikely to have swelling, but you may feel a lump in the muscle.

Grade 2

  • Grade 2 symptoms are more severe than grade two.
  • You may feel a sudden sharp pain when running, jumping or kicking and be unable to play on.
  • Pain will make walking difficult and you will notice swelling or mild bruising.
  • The pain would be felt when pressing into the muscle, particularly where it is torn.
  • When diagnosing thigh strains your therapist will get you to straighten your leg whilst they resist it. Pain indicates injury to the muscle.

Grade 3

  • Grade 3 symptoms consist of severe, sudden pain in the front of the thigh.
  • The patient will be unable to walk without the aid of crutches.
  • With grade 3 thigh strain diagnosis, bad swelling will appear immediately. Significant bruising deveops within 24 hours.
  • A static muscle contraction will be painful and is likely to produce a bulge in the muscle.
  • The patient can expect to be out of competition for 6 to 12 weeks.

Assessment & diagnosis of thigh strains

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A professional therapist will do a full assessment in order to accurately diagnose your injury. This should include:

  • Questions about your general health, previous injury as well as current injury.
  • Your therapist will then perform a physical assessment of the injury.
  • This includes observation and palpation (feeling the area), range of motion tests and resisted muscle tests.
This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.

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