Sports Leg Injuries

Leg pain and leg injuries are common among sports players and include pull or tear to the quadriceps, pull or tear to the hamstring muscles, muscle cramps, muscle sprains and strains, shin splints, calf strain, and also stress and other fractures.


The quadriceps muscles are the four muscles located in the anterior thigh. These muscles are used to extend the leg while straightening the knee. Pain occurs in the front of the thigh when the quadriceps are pulled or strained. A severe pull or tear can cause an abruption, or acute pain usually during sprinting.

Symptoms are pain, swelling and bruises on the thigh. Strength differences between the strong hamstring and the weak quadriceps muscles are often the cause of a quadriceps pull or tear.

Treatment for a quadriceps pull or tear is to follow the R.I.C.E. treatment plan, which are rest, ice, compression and elevation of the affected part. An anti-inflammatory medication may be taken to reduce pain and inflammation.

It is also helpful to wrap the thigh in an ACE bandage to keep it compressed. It is vital to properly stretch the quadriceps to prevent pulls and tears. Do Quad extensions, squats, biking or stair climbing to stretch properly.


Hamstring pulls; tears or strains are common among runners. The hamstring muscles are those that run down the back of the leg from the pelvis area to the lower leg bones. The muscles that make up the hamstring muscles are the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and the semimembranosus muscles.

The symptoms of a hamstring muscle group injury are a sudden, and sharp pain in the back of the thigh. The knee may not extend after a hamstring injury without intense pain. Excessive stretching can cause hamstring tearing.

There are 3 classifications of hamstring muscle group injuries mild, moderate and also severe. Stretching yourself beyond your limits, poor flexibility, poor muscle strength, an imbalance between the quadriceps and the hamstring muscle groups, differences in leg length, improper or not warming up at all, and also a history of hamstring injuries.

Treatment for hamstring pull, tear or strain is to be evaluated by a medical team to determine the extent of the injury. Use the R.I.C.E. treatment plan to reduce pain and the inflammation associated with these injuries. Use a strengthening program to rebuild the strength of the injured muscle group in order to prevent future injury. Use a thigh wrap to provide consistent compression while healing.

Prevent hamstring injuries by properly warming up and stretching before working out, training or playing in a game. Stretch after exercising, practicing or playing in a game.


A muscle sprain is an injury to a ligament; a strain is an injury to a muscle, or tendon. Common sprains occur to ankles, wrists and the foot. Strains commonly occur to back, hamstring and elbow

It is important to see your doctor if you experience severe pain, or if you cannot bear weight on the injured joint. If a joint is tender, or looks crooked or you notice any lumps or you cannot move the joint. If you limb buckles when you try to bear weight, or you see red streaks spreading from any injury. If you have pain, swelling or redness over any bony area of your foot it is also important to see a doctor.

See Also: Sports Injury Concussion Headaches