Thigh Bruise

What Is A Thigh Bruise? A thigh bruise is a bruise (contusion) to the large group of muscles in the front of the thigh that help straighten the leg. These muscles are called the quadriceps. A thigh bruise is also called a "charley horse". A strain is a partial tear of a muscle and is often called a pulled muscle.

How Does It Occur? A thigh bruise is caused by a direct blow to the muscles of the thigh. A strain may be caused from overuse or from an abrupt movement of the thigh in activities such as sprinting or jumping.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Thigh Bruise? You have pain the middle of your thigh and have difficulty bending or straightening your leg or lift your knee an area of your thigh maybe swollen and dis colored. A thigh bruise or strain usually heals with out complications however a large bruise may bleed a lot into the muscle. The bleeding is called a hematoma. The hematoma may become calcified and form a hard lump in the quadriceps muscle. This lump is called osteomyositis ossificans and may cause stiffness or a bump on the muscle that may be very long lasting.

How Is It Diagnosed? Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and examine your thigh. If your doctor suspects an area of calcification, and x ray may be ordered.

How Is It Treated? Right after your injury you doctor may wrap your leg in a bent-knee position and place ice over your thigh. This will put maximum stretch on the thigh muscles, keeping them from becoming too tight or stiff during healing.

Other treatment may include:

  • 1. Putting ice packs on thigh for 20 to 30 minutes every 3 to four hours for 2 or 3 days or until the pain goes away.
  • 2. Lying down and elevating your thigh by putting a pillow under it.
  • 3. Taking an anti-inflammatory medication prescribed by your doctor.
  • 4. Wearing an elastic thigh wrap when you return to sports.
  • 5. Having prescribed physical therapy, which would include rehabilitation exercises and deep tissue treatments such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation


While you are recovering from your injury you will need to change your sport or activity to one that does not make your condition worse. For example, you may need to swim instead of run.

When Can I Return To My Sport Or Activity? The Goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your sport or activity as soon and as safely as possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury which could lead to permanent damage. Everyone recovers from injury at a different rate. Return to your sport or activity will be determined by how soon your Thigh recovers not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury has occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment the longer it will take to safely return to your sport or activity when, starting from the top of the list and progressing to the end, each of the following is true:

  • 1. You have full range of motion in the injured leg compared to the uninjured leg compared to the uninjured leg.
  • 2. You have full strength of the injured leg compared to the uninjured leg.
  • 3. You can jog straight ahead without pain of limping.
  • 4. You can do 45-degree cuts first at half-speed then at full-speed.
  • 5. You can do 20- yard figures-of-eight, first at half-speed, then at full-speed.
  • 6. you can do 90-degree cuts, first at half speed, then at full speed.
  • 7. You can do 10-yard figures of eight, first at half-speed, then at full-speed.
  • 8. You can jump on both legs without pain and you can jump on the injured led without pain.


How Can I Prevent A Thigh Bruise? A thigh bruise usually occurs from a direct blow to the thigh, which may not be preventable. However, in contact sports, such as football, be sure to wear the proper protective equipment. Strains are best prevented by warming up and stretching properly before your activity.

Thigh Bruise Rehabilitation Exercises: You may do all the exercises right away.

1. Quadriceps stretch: Stand and arms length away from a wall, facing straight ahead. Brace yourself by keeping your hand on your uninjured side against the wall. With your other hand grasp the ankle of your injured leg and pull your heel up toward your buttocks. Don't arch or twist your back and hold your knees together. Hold this position 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Do this several times a day. Avoid forcing painful movement.

2. Quadriceps isometrics: Sitting on the floor with your injured leg straight and your other leg bent, press the back of your knee into the floor by tightening the muscles on the top of your thigh. Hold this position 5 seconds. Relax, repeat 20 to 30 times.

3. Straight leg raise: Sit on the floor with your injured leg straight and the other leg bent so your foot is flat on the top of your thigh and raise your leg 6 to 8 inches off the floor. Hold this position 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets.

4. Heel slide: Sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, slowly slide the heel of you injured leg toward your buttocks by pulling your knee toward your chest as you slide. Return to the starting position. Repeat 20 to 30 times.

All material provided is designed for information purposes only and should not be used to replace the care of a health care professional. Do not rely on any of the information for diagnosis or treatment. It is recommended that you visit a qualified health care professional for individual and personal attention.

What Is A Thigh Bruise? A thigh bruise is a bruise (contusion) to the large group of muscles in the

Thigh Bruise

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