The quadriceps femoris is a group of four muscles that comprise the front and sides of the thighs. They consist of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. These muscles originate at the hipbone and thighbone and meet up at the kneecap and are attached to the shinbone. These muscles are crucial for flexing the hip and extending or straightening the knee and are used when standing, walking, and almost any activity involving the legs.
The most common injuries associated with the quadriceps are contusions, tendinitis, muscle strains, tears, and ruptures, and compartment syndrome. Compartment syndrome occurs when the pressure within the compartment that contains the quadriceps raises higher than the blood pressure, preventing the muscle tissue from receiving oxygen-rich blood that has been pumped from the heart. Symptoms of these injuries can be pain, tenderness, swelling, decreased range of motion, and walking with a limp.
Most quadriceps injuries can be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Physical therapy may be needed to increase range of motion and gain strength. If there is a muscle rupture, surgery will most likely be required.
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