Quadriceps Injury: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 4/19/2021

A quadriceps injury is an injury to any one of the four muscles that make up the front of the thigh. Quadriceps injuries can include partial tears of the muscle, strains, bruises (contusions), tendinitis, compartment syndrome, and disruption or rupture of the tendon.

Signs and symptoms of quadriceps injury depend upon the type of injury and its severity. Other associated injuries such as skin injury or bone fractures may be present. Symptoms can include

  • thigh pain,
  • cramping,
  • bruising or discoloration,
  • tenderness, and a
  • popping or tearing sensation in the thigh muscles.

There may be associated gait disturbances with an

  • inability to walk without the leg giving way or a
  • visible deformity.

Causes of quadriceps injuries

Traumatic injury and repetitive overuse are two common causes of quadriceps injury.

Other quadriceps injury symptoms and signs

  • Bruising or Discoloration
  • Cramping
  • Inability to Walk Without the Leg Giving Way
  • Popping or Tearing Sensation in the Thigh Muscles
  • Tenderness
  • Thigh Pain
  • Visible Deformity


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.