Once your quad pull feels like it is on the road to recovery, start to use it more and more. A word of caution, however. Don’t go too fast too soon. Even when pain is minimal, the muscle tissue is still reforming. If you stress it during this process, it can rebreak.
Resting too much is not the answer, however. Moderate use will help break up scar tissue that may have formed in the initial recovery process, replacing it with more healthy muscle fibers. Motion also promotes circulation to the muscle to further speed up recovery.
Some key principles to follow to prevent future quadriceps muscle strains include:
- Try to make sure you are balanced in your strength. Don’t overemphasize one part of the body while paying less attention to another. For example, don’t just try to strengthen your quads, but also work the hamstrings, hip flexors, knees, etc. to prevent hamstring injury, hip flexor injury etc. If you can use all your muscles in their full range, you’ll be better able to avoid future injuries in the quads or other muscle groups.
- Along the same lines, if you regularly tax the quadriceps, do what you can to make sure they are both strong and supple. Too much strength and not enough flexibility, or vice versa, will work against you and lead to future tears and pulls, if not even more serious injuries.
- If you do not regularly tax your quadriceps in your normal exercise routine or sport, incorporate exercises into your strength training routine that seek to strengthen and stretch these important muscles.
- Warm up properly. Like all your muscles, your quadriceps are more flexible when they are warmed up, so stretching after a short warm up is important. However, be sure to learn the proper ways to stretch, so you don’t accidentally overstretch and thus strain your quadriceps muscles.
- Invest in learning the proper techniques for your sport or exercise of choice. When you know the proper mechanics, you’ll be more capable and be better able to avoid injury.
- Stretch after you exercise. When you are warming up, you can lightly stretch your quads and other muscles. However, the best time to stretch is when you are finished, and the body is warm and limber. This helps you remain supple, which is crucial for injury prevention.
For some general recovery tips, check out these Muscle Injury Prevention.