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

Grade 1 muscle strain
  • 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 muscle strain
  • 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 muscle strain
  • 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.

Thigh strain assessment & diagnosis

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.

Recommended products

We recommend the following products to help treat Thigh strains:

Cold wrap

Cold Therapy Compression Wrap

Cold therapy is important for reducing pain and swelling. A reusable gel pack can be used for both hot and cold and an elastic sleeve enables easy application and compression.


Thigh Support

Supports and protects your muscle while it is headling as well as helping to reduce pain and swelling. Retains heat later in the rehabilitation process.

Foam roller for calf muscle

Foam Roller

A foam roller is an excellent piece of kit which can be used in place of massage to treat muscle injuries. They are also excellent when use regularly as part of your warm up.

Resistance bands

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are important for most sports rehabilitation and enable you to exercise any muscle from the comfort of your own home.


This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.
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