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Thigh Muscle Strain & Rugby

 

Thigh Muscle Strain Injury Explained

Rugby kickers have a higher risk of suffering from a thigh muscle strain as this muscle is used extensively when kicking a ball. The thigh muscle is comprised of a group of muscles called the quadriceps. These are found at the front of the thigh and their main function is to extend the knee. The four muscles that comprise the quadriceps are: Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Intermedius and Vastus Medialis.

Kicking the ball and sprinting forward places substantial strain on the quadriceps. If the thigh muscle is stretched beyond its ability then a muscle tear may occur. This is often referred to as a thigh strain and is categorized in three distinct categories.

• First degree Thigh muscle strains refer to damage to a few muscle fibres.
• Second degree strains are characterized by damage to a number of thigh muscle fibres. Strength is diminished.
• Third degree strains result in severe damage to the muscle fibres. Chronic strains are caused by overuse. Acute strains are caused by direct injury or over-stress.

Thigh Muscle Strain Signs & Symptoms

The condition is most commonly diagnosed through observation of symptoms, medical history and examination by a doctor and X-rays of the pelvis, femur and knee to rule out fractures.
A grade one thigh strain may be felt only after the activity is over. The patient may feel sensations similar to a cramp. He or she may also experience tightness in the thigh along with some pain when extending or contracting the thigh muscles.

A grade two strain will be felt immediately. There will be a more severe pain and the injury will also make walking extremely painful. The injury will be verified if there is throbbing when the muscle is either stretched or contracted. Also, this degree of strain will be sore to touch.

The most severe of all, a grade three injury would involve a complete tear in the muscle itself. In this grade, the patient will instantly experience stabbing pains emanating from the thigh. Walking will also come with an extreme amount of pain. Because of the tear, there may be a visible depression in the thigh as well as a lump above that depression. An injury of this magnitude will also cause internal bleeding which, after a few days, will manifest as large bruises on the skin.

Thigh Muscle Strain Treatment


What you can do

For a 1st , 2nd degree and 3rd degree strains the immediate treatment plan will comprise of the RICE protocol.

Rest: Many players underestimate the importance of rest but this is vital when recovering from this type of injury. If you do not rest completely and try and take pressure off the affected thigh you could potentially damage more muscle fibres. The use of crutches may be beneficial for immobilization.

1st Degree strain: 3-4 weeks complete rest

2nd Degree strain: 5-7 weeks complete rest.

Ice: An ice pack must also be applied at two-hour intervals for 20 minutes each time. The bleeding, as well as the inflammation of the tissues will be reduced after this has been carried out. More active rehabilitation may begin only after the patient has had a couple days of rest. After the first 72 hours, apply heat instead of ice if it feels better. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers, heating pads or heat liniments and ointments. Take whirlpool treatments, if available. Wrap the injured quadricep muscle loosely with an elastic bandage between treatments. Massage gently and often to provide comfort and decrease swelling.

Reusable hot and cold pack

Compression: Using an elastic compression bandage is recommended to prevent additional swelling.

Elevation: Elevation will also help reduce swelling. The key to elevation is to raise and support the injured body part above the level of the heart. In the case of a hamstring injury, this requires lying down and supporting the leg up on pillows.

Surgery is almost inevitable with a third degree strain to repair ruptured muscles. After the procedure, the player undergoes rehabilitation for three months.

Scar tissue will form during the healing process and gentle stretching will help the alignment of the scar. The strength of the thigh muscle fibres will improve when the scar tissue is aligned with the normal lines of stress. Resistance bands can be used once the muscle has healed and gains its strength. The number of sets and repetitions will increase until the player has gained the core strength needed in the thigh muscles.

Cycling, water exercise or any form of isokinetic movements will help strengthen without full weight-bearing conditioning for the first six to eight weeks.

If the player increases his core strength across the entire torso and pelvis this will greatly reduce the risk of subsequent injuries. The use of swiss balls along with resistance bands is ideal for this form of continuous rehabilitation. The use of Warm Pants (Compression Pants) or thigh support may provide reassurance.

 

Thigh Muscle Strain Prevention

What you can do

The following measures may help in reducing the risk of sustaining thigh injuries:

• Before participating in rugby practice you should have an adequate warm up routine to ensure that muscle temperature is raised by 1 or 2 degrees. Warm up should last between 20 to 30 minutes and the player should increase the intensity gradually. The warm up must also be utilized to practice sport-specific movements and routines. Warm pants or thigh support may be worn since they can help maintain the muscle temperature while providing protection against muscle injuries.

•Following exercises, cooling down and stretching improves the recovery of the muscles, heart, and other tissue through the removal of waste products. This will help prevent DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) due to the inability of removing muscle lactic acid as well as aid in preventing overuse injuries.

•Maintaining good muscle strength and flexibility will prevent further damage to the thigh muscle. It also enables greater control during rugby.

•The diet of a rugby player should supply a sufficient amount of energy and carbohydrates 48 hours prior to training. If a player is short of essential carbohydrates, fatigue can increase the risk of a thigh injury.

 


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The compression and warmth provided by the Vulkan Warm Pants is perfect for the treatment and prevention of thigh, groin and hamstring muscle strains. Compression helps to provide physical support and reassurance, while the therapeutic heat helps to increase and retain muscle temperature. This helps to make soft tissues more 'stretchy' and less prone to strain injury.

When to use it

Can be useful during severe and persistent hamstring, groin and thigh muscle strains. The warmth provided by the neoprene support can also be very useful for the prevention of muscle strains.

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The Vulkan Neoprene range features premium quality neoprene. This offers the best possible combination of support, compression, heat retention and comfort. Vulkan Neoprene has a unique spiral lining which is critical in removing excess sweat which avoids skin problems and is more comfortable to wear.

By retaining heat there is an increase in the elasticity of the soft tissues. This is helpful for the treatment and prevention of a thigh muscle injury. By increasing local blood flow, healing and recovery times can be reduced following a thigh injury. The Vulkan Thigh support can also be used as a preventive measure where there has been a history of thigh muscle injury. By warming the tissues and acting as a heat retainer it can reduce the risk of re-injury.

When to use it?

The Vulkan Thigh Support can be useful during acute and chronic hamstring and thigh muscle strains. The warmth provided by the neoprene support can also be very useful for the prevention of hamstring and thigh muscle strains. It is easy to apply and doesn't restrict movement, making it ideal for use in all sports.

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