The rectus femoris is one of the powerful quadriceps muscles. A rupture of the tendon at the top of the muscle near the hip can be caused by overuse or explosive loads on the muscle, like sprint starts or kicking a ball. When the tendon ruptures, groin pain or a sharp pain at the front of the hip may be felt. The severity of the symptoms depends on whether the rupture is partial or complete.
Ruptured rectus femoris tendon symptoms
Symptoms include a sudden sharp pain at the front of the hip or in the groin usually whilst doing some explosive activity. Swelling and bruising may occur with pain when lifting the knee up against resistance. Tenderness will be felt when pressing in at the muscle attachment at the front of the hip. If a complete rupture has occurred then it will be impossible to contract the muscle.
Rectus femoris tendon strain explained
The rectus femoris muscle is the large quadriceps muscles that runs down the center of the front of the thigh. It is a biaxial muscle meaning it crosses two joints, both the hip and knee joint. It is used to straighten the knee or lift the knee up. As a consequence there are often very large forces transmitted through the muscle, especially when kicking or jumping.
This tendon can rupture or become inflamed at the upper part near the origin at the hip. The main cause of this is overuse through kicking or explosive movements as in sprint starts.
Rectus femoris tendon treatment
Rest and apply cold therapy and compression immediately. Ice can be applied for 10 to 15 minutes every hour for the first 24 hours or so during the painful acute stage. Frequency can reduce to two or three times a day as symptoms subside.
A professional therapist may use ultrasound and laser treatment to help with the pain, inflammation and healing process. Sports massage after the acute stage can be beneficial both cross friction massage applied to the tendon and deep tissue massage to relax the muscle itself. If the tendon has torn completely then an operation to repair it will be required.
A full rehabilitation program of stretching and strengthening exercises should be done before more sports specific functional exercises to return the athlete back to full fitness.
A partial rupture of muscle can lead to inflammation after the initial rupture has healed. You can avoid groin injuries by ensuring the muscles are strong and flexible through strengthening and stretching exercises.