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The hips and the thighs have an established relationship where mobility and stability play a part in the body’s lower extremities. The lower extremities’ main job is to support the upper body’s weight while stabilizing the hips and allowing movement from the thighs to the legs and feet. When it comes to the thighs in the lower body, the various muscle surrounds the thighs and skeletal joints to allow the legs to move from one place to another. One of the muscle groups in the thighs is known as the quadriceps femoris. This muscle group is activated when a person is in motion and can succumb to injuries from trauma or normal factors. When this happens, issues like myofascial pain syndrome can affect the thigh muscle and cause referred pain to travel to the knees. Today’s article focuses on the quadriceps femoris, how myofascial pain syndrome is associated with thigh pain, and trigger point therapy on the quadriceps. We refer patients to certified providers who incorporate multiple methods in the lower body extremities, like thigh and hip pain treatments correlating to myofascial pain, to aid individuals dealing with pain symptoms along the quadriceps for muscle. We encourage and appreciate patients by referring them to associated medical providers based on their diagnosis, especially when appropriate. We understand that education is an excellent solution to asking our providers complex questions at the patient’s request. Dr. Jimenez, D.C., utilizes this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
What Are The Quadriceps Femoris?
Have you been dealing with knee issues when you are walking? What about muscle tenderness or soreness in your thighs? Or have you been experiencing knee complaints when you are running? These areas of complaint are correlated with trigger points associated with thigh pain along the quadriceps femoris. As one of the most voluminous muscles in the human body, the quadriceps femoris is a group of muscles predominant in the thighs and is extraordinarily important. This muscle group is essential for daily activities like climbing the stairs or getting up from a seated position, allowing repercussions on the knees and hip joints. The quadriceps femoris consist of four thigh muscles to allow extension to the knees:
- Vatus medialis
- Vatus lateralis
- Vatus intermedius
- Rectus femoris
Studies reveal that these four different muscles fuse to form the quadricep tendon and stabilize the patella and thigh flexion at the hips and knee extension. This muscle group is highly important for athletes participating in sports events but can succumb to injuries through muscle strain.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome Associated With Tigh Pain
When the thigh muscles, especially the quadriceps femoris, can be overstretched and overused when in motion. Thigh pain is nothing to be alarmed about in its acute form; however, it can develop small nodules along the four muscle fibers that can cause referred pain to the hips and knees. To that point, it can correlate through quadriceps muscle strain to the thighs. Studies reveal that normal factors like kicking, jumping, or a sudden change of direction of running can potentially cause the muscle fibers to be overstretched and develop pain due to localized swelling corresponding to loss of motion from myofascial pain syndrome.
In “Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction,” written by Dr. Janet G. Travell, M.D., the book states that myofascial pain syndrome can invoke referred pain to the affected muscle or muscle group, causing the body to be dysfunctional. Myofascial pain syndrome associated with thigh pain can be managed through various treatments and could allow mobility back to the thighs, legs, knees, and hips. The book even mentions how the four muscles in the quadriceps femoris cause different pain issues in various body parts due to myofascial pain syndrome. For the rectus femoris, many people would complain about knee pain and weakness when climbing stairs. The vatus medialis would initially produce a toothache-like pain deep within the knee joint, often misinterpreted as joint inflammation. The vatus intermedius causes many individuals to have difficulty fully straightening their knees and causes them to develop buckling knee syndrome. And finally, the vatus lateralis could cause many individuals to complain about feeling pain when walking and that the pain is being distributed on the lateral aspect of the thigh, including the knees.
Trigger Point Therapy: Stretching The Quadriceps- Video
Have you been dealing with pain in your thighs and knees? Do you find it difficult to climb up or down the stairs? Or have you been experiencing inflammation in your knee joints? All these symptoms that you are experiencing in your thighs, knees, and hips correlate with trigger points created by myofascial pain syndrome affecting the quadriceps femoris. The quadriceps femoris is a voluminous group of muscles that allows the individual to do daily activities like climbing up or down the stairs, running, jumping, and getting up from a seated position. When various issues can cause the quadricep femoris to become overstretched and overused, it could develop myofascial pain syndrome/trigger points along the muscle fibers to mimic knee pain and cause dysfunction in knee mobility. Even though myofascial pain syndrome is poorly diagnosed, individuals can manage it through various treatments that target myofascial trigger pain. The video above explains where the quadriceps femoris muscles are located on the thigh and where the trigger points are in the muscle fibers. The video also provides various stretching techniques on the quadriceps to reduce pain-like symptoms along the thighs.
Trigger Point Therapy On The Quadriceps
When it comes to releasing myofascial pain syndrome on the quadriceps, treatments like dry needling, acupuncture, or manual stretching can help loosen and lengthen the quadricep muscles from becoming shorten and can reduce myofascial trigger points from causing more issues on the knees and thighs. At the same time, treatment alone can only go so far in rehabilitation unless the person dealing with myofascial pains syndrome associated with thigh pain do some corrective actions to prevent trigger points from reproducing on the quads. Actions like:
- Avoid prolonged sitting
- Stretching the quads as part of your warm-up
- Sleeping with a pillow between the knees
These actions allow the quadriceps to relax and prevent pain-like issues from affecting the knees. To that point, these actions can help many individuals have mobility back to their legs and allow them to bend their knees without feeling pain.
The quadriceps femoris consists of four thigh muscles that fuse to enable mobility functions in the knees without pain. As the most voluminous muscle group in the body, the quadriceps femoris allows the thighs to function when in motion and allow the knees to extend. When various issues cause the quadriceps femoris muscles to be overstretched, it can develop trigger points/myofascial pain syndrome that mimics knee pain and can affect how a person is walking. Thankfully, various treatments specializing in myofascial pain syndrome can reduce the pain symptoms from the quadriceps femoris and bring back knee mobility to the legs.
Bordoni, Bruno, and Matthew Varacallo. “Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Thigh Quadriceps Muscle.” In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL), StatPearls Publishing, 10 May 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513334/.
Kary, Joel M. “Diagnosis and Management of Quadriceps Strains and Contusions.” Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine, Humana Press Inc, 30 July 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2941577/.
Rozenfeld, Evgeni, et al. “The Prevalence of Myofascial Trigger Points in Hip and Thigh Areas in Anterior Knee Pain Patients.” Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 May 2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31987560/.
Simons, D. G., and L. S. Simons. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual: Vol. 2:the Lower Extremities. Williams & Wilkins, 1999.
Waligora, Andrew C, et al. “Clinical Anatomy of the Quadriceps Femoris and Extensor Apparatus of the Knee.” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, Springer-Verlag, Dec. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2772911/.
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