How to deal with a quadriceps contusion

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A quadriceps contusion is due to a traumatic blow or a deep bruise to the anterior, lateral or medial part of the thigh. The contusion is caused by an external force that damages the muscle. The thigh and the large muscles located in the front of thigh are called quadriceps muscles.

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Quadriceps contusion can be minor, moderate or severe within a period of 12-24 hours. A minor contusion involves more than 90 degrees of knee flexion. A moderate is between 45-90 degrees and a severe flexion is less than 45 degrees.

A mild contusion can still allow the individual to continue with physical activity or sport. The damaged area is tender to the touch and the muscle has diminished ability to stretch. Additionally, the strength of the muscles weakens.

A moderate contusion will require the person to stop physical activity. The affected area becomes stiff and swollen. There is pain and tenderness of the affected area. The individual evidently limps while walking and the range of motion diminishes by 50%.

A severe contusion involves rapid bleeding and swelling but can be controlled. There is loss of movement and difficulty placing full weight on the affected leg. The tenderness of the affected area becomes severe and the muscle strength becomes weak.

Quadriceps contusion
A moderate contusion will require the person to stop physical activity.

Symptoms of quadriceps contusion

  • Difficulty in walking and running
  • Pain can be felt in the middle of the thigh
  • Trouble bending or straightening your leg or lifting the knee
  • Swelling and discolored skin


  • Use an ice pack or pack of frozen vegetables that is covered in a towel and applied on the affected area for at least 3-4 hours for 20 minutes at each application.
  • Massage the area using ice. Simply freeze water in a Styrofoam cup and peel off the top of the cup away to expose the ice. Rub the ice over the painful areas for at least 5-10 minutes at several times throughout the while pain is still present.
  • Keep the affected area elevated with stacks of pillows when sitting or lying down.
  • Use an elastic or neoprene sleeve to wrap around the thigh.
  • Take the prescribed pain medication such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to lessen the pain and inflammation.
  • When recovering from the injury, apply moist heat to relax the muscles and promote easy movement. Use moist heat on the affected thigh for at least 10-15 minutes before performing warm-up and stretching exercises. Another alternative is using a moist washcloth that is heated in a microwave or take a hot shower. Avoid using heat if swelling is still present.


Quadriceps contusion are usually due to accidents and you can prevent it. Use proper protective equipment recommended for sports or while at work. Perform proper warm-up and stretching before engaging in any physical activities to prevent the injury.


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