What Are the Symptoms and Common Causes of a Pulled Quad Muscle?

All but the most minor quad pulls are painful. Some typical symptoms of a pulled quad muscle include:

  • sudden, sharp pain at the front of the upper leg during exercise – most usually felt during sprinting or bursts of speed and potentially accompanied by a “popping” feeling. The quads are responsible for straightening the leg, so such motions can be quite uncomfortable.
  • a spasm or stiffness in the upper leg, especially felt when stretching.
  • swelling and tenderness
  • bruising in the upper leg (which indicates blood vessels have been ruptured)
  • overall weakness in the quadriceps
  • gap or irregularity in the quad muscle, which is usually the sign of some form of muscle fiber tear

There are many causes for quad muscle pulls, but here are a few of the most common.

  • lack of flexibility in the quadriceps – even a mild force can pull a tight muscle
  • poor quadriceps strength
  • strength or flexibility imbalance between the hamstring and the quadriceps. These muscle groups work opposite one another, so having a complimentary amount of strength and suppleness in both groups is important
  • being overtired or not warming up prior to stressful activity
  • overstretching the quadriceps
  • sudden stress upon quadriceps
  • impact to the quadriceps by an outside force

Additionally, if you are tired or your muscles are cold, this increases your chances for a muscle pull.

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For more information on Treatment of a Pulled Quad Muscle, read the Pulled Quad Treatment page.


Related Pulled Hamstring Articles:
Pulled Quad
Severe Pulled Quad
Pulled Quadriceps Treatment
Quadriceps Stretch