Quadriceps tendinopathy is the medical term to describe pain in your quadriceps muscles. Typically referred to as your ‘quads’, these muscles are located at the front of the thigh and connect together via a tendon close to the kneecap (patella). As the quad muscles work to straighten out the knee from a bent position, like standing up from a chair, quad pain can make it very uncomfortable to perform simple daily tasks.
Quad pain occurs when the quadriceps muscles, or the quadriceps tendon, are irritated or damaged. It is typically an overuse injury, meaning that it often occurs from doing repetitive activities that engage the quads for prolonged periods, while overloading or putting excess strain on the muscles and tendon This can commonly happen by regularly engaging in activities such as squats, weight-lifting, rugby and running sports.
Other factors that may contribute to the development of quadriceps tendinopathy include:
When it comes to symptoms, aside from knee and thigh pain, you may experience stiffness at the knee, muscle weakness, swelling, and tenderness that is worsened by standing up from a seated position.
Unlike an arm that you can put in a sling and avoid using for a few weeks while it heals, you can’t help but use your quads and quadriceps tendon because of its function in walking and standing. This means that treating this pain takes time, and you must take care not to aggravate it further. It is also important to not only treat the painful symptoms, but address any underlying problems to stop it from coming back in the future by working alongside a podiatrist who can:
Before you come to see us, you can tend to your quad pain at home by:
Our podiatrists can help you by:
How long does it take to recover from quadriceps tendinopathy?
This varies from person to person depending on the severity of your tendinopathy, as well as a range of other personal factors. Generally, mild cases of quadriceps tendinopathy may take several weeks to a few months to heal, while more severe cases may take several months or longer.
Can quadriceps tendinopathy be prevented?
In some cases, yes. Generally, ways to help prevent tendinopathies including quadriceps tendinopathy include:
Are there any exercises or physical therapy that can help with quadriceps tendinopathy?
Yes – your podiatrist will prescribe a rehab exercise program that will involve both stretching and strengthening exercises to best support and optimise your recovery. This will likely include a combination of isometric and eccentric strengthening exercises, stretching exercises, range of motion exercises, and more.
Can quadriceps tendinopathy cause long-term complications?
When left untreated and the cause is not addressed, it can. The quadriceps may grow weaker and be more vulnerable to injury, which can lead to further pain – and even tears in the muscles or tendons. You may also start experiencing knee pain and other consequences as a result of problems with the quads, given their connection and interlinked functions.