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Quadricep Pain While Sprinting

author image Brian Willett
Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for and He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.
Quadricep Pain While Sprinting
A man's quadriceps as he performs a leg extension exercise. Photo Credit: Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images

Although sprinting is an activity that can provide you with health benefits, it is also intense enough to trigger injuries. If you feel pain in your quadriceps, it could be the result of a potentially serious injury. For this reason, you should stop exercising immediately if you feel any pain. You can treat quadriceps pain in many ways, but you should refer to a doctor before you attempt any treatment.

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Muscle Strain

Muscle strains, also known as muscle pulls, are common injuries, and the stress of sprinting may trigger this injury. High-speed sports demand more from your quadriceps than other activities, putting you at risk for strains. Strains occur when your muscle fibers are pushed past their limits and you may experience a popping or snapping prior to your pain. Strains are graded according to the severity of injury, with one being the mildest and three being the most serious.

Quadriceps Tendon Rupture

Another injury that may cause pain in your quadriceps while sprinting is a quadriceps tendon rupture. This occurs when excessive strain is put on your quadriceps, and the tendon rupture causes your patella to shift abnormally, as it is no longer anchored by your quadriceps tendon. You can tell when your quadriceps tendon has ruptured because a hole is visible on your thigh.

Treatment Options

The treatment options for your injury depend on what the injury is. Strained quadriceps muscles that are classified as grade one or two strains can be treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation. You should stop training for 72 hours and consult a medical professional. If you have a grade three strain, you should use a compression bandage until you can see a doctor, which should be as soon as possible. Consult a professional in any case, as he can assess the injury accurately. If you have a ruptured quadriceps tendon, you will need surgery, so consult a doctor as quickly as possible.

Preventing Injury

You can never completely guarantee you won't experience an injury, but you can take measures to help avoid injuries such as strains and ruptures. Warming up by stretching and performing sprints at slower speeds can help ease your muscles into activity. In addition, you should perform weight training activities to strengthen your muscles so sprinting does not over-strain them. Finally, you should consume a high carbohydrate diet leading up to sprinting competitions, as this will provide adequate fuel for your muscles and prevent fatigue and undue stress.

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