The following guidelines are for information purposes only. We recommend seeking professional advice before starting any rehabilitation.
Grade 1 thigh strain rehabilitation
Initial treatment – Day 1
- Rest and apply cold therapy to the thigh as soon as possible for 15 minutes at a time.
- Repeat this every 2-3 hours.
- Do not apply ice directly to the skin or you could get ice burns.
- Wear a compression support all the time to help reduce swelling.
Stage 2 – Days 2-5
- If pain-free, start to stretch the quad muscles gently.
- After 48 hours, sports massage can be applied very gently to start with and see how the injury responds afterwards and the following day.
- Start to strengthen the muscle again, gently to start with and only if this is completely pain-free.
Stage 3 – Days 6 onwards
- Continue with stretching, strengthening and sports massage.
- Return to training when you have no pain on any of the exercises, or day-to-day activities.
- Start off very gently and gradually increase running speed, and intensity of other activities such as kicking and changing direction.
Grade 2 thigh strain rehabilitation
Immediate treatment – Days 1-4
- Stop play immediately, don’t attempt to play on.
- Apply cold therapy straight away, for 15 minutes at a time, every 2-3 hours.
- Apply a compression bandage.
- Rest with the leg elevated. Use crutches if necessary
Stage 2 – Days 5-12
- Return to full weight-bearing if you haven’t already.
- Start to gently stretch the quad muscles, provided it is comfortable to do so.
- Hold stretches for 20-30 seconds and repeat three times.
- Do this 3-5 times a day. Sports massage can be used from day 4 onwards.
- Once it is comfortable to do so, start gentle strengthening exercises.
Stage 3 – Days 13-21
- Continue with sports massage and stretching exercises.
- Gradually increase the intensity of strengthening exercises. Start to introduce activities such as cycling and gentle jogging.
- Apply heat if the muscle feels stiff – 15 minutes at a time before activity.
- Return to gentle training once all day-to-day and above exercises are pain-free and you have
rangeof motion equal to the other side.
Grade 3 thigh strain rehabilitation
Immediate treatment – Days 1-7
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Apply cold therapy for 15 minutes at a time, every 2-3 hours for the first 48 hours.
- Use crutches.
- Use a compression bandage and rest with the leg elevated.
Stage 2 – Days 8-14
- Generally with an injury this severe, all treatment should be directed by a sports injury professional and should include stretching exercises, sports massage (after the acute phase has passed).
- Ultrasound may be used and gentle strengthening exercises can begin for example static or isometric contractions.
Stage 3 – Weeks 3-6:
- Strengthening exercises are the main feature of this stage of treatment.
- Increase the difficulty and intensity of exercises as pain allows.
- Continue with stretching exercises.
- Continue with sports massage.
- Wear a thigh support or heat retainer to support the leg and improve blood supply. Use heat before exercises.
This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.