Brief Outline of Thigh Bruise or Contusion
A thigh contusion is actually a deep bruise to the muscles of the quadriceps or hamstrings near the femur. The bruising causes pain and limited flexibility in the muscle. High impact sports such as football or hockey are commonly associated with thigh bruising, but any activity that could result in falling on or getting hit in the thigh can cause a contusion.
Anatomy and physiology
The musculature of the thigh includes the quadriceps, comprising: vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and semimembranosus. An impact to any of these muscles squeezes the muscle between the impacting force and the femur. This causes bleeding in the muscle near the femur. This in turn causes the formation of scar tissue that reduces muscle function. The swelling and bruising from the bleeding causes pressure on the surrounding muscle fibres reducing flexibility.
Cause of Thigh Contusion
Impact to the muscle from a blunt surface such as the ground, a helmet, foot etc.
Signs and symptoms
Pain and tenderness over the injured area. Swelling and bruising may be present. Pain with weight bearing and stretching of the muscle.
Complications if left unattended
Myositis offificans, which is characterised by the formation of bony deposits or by ossification in the muscle tissue, can develop from unattended thigh contusions. Muscle ruptures can also occur when a contusion is left untreated and activity is continued.
Rest and ice. Anti-inflammatory medication. Physiotherapy.
Rehabilitation and treatment
After the pain subsides it is important to regain flexibility and strength in the injured muscle. Gentle stretching will improve flexibility and help to avoid scar tissue formation. While the muscle is healing, working the surrounding muscles as tolerable may help to speed recovery by increasing blood flow and limit scarring. Use of proper protective equipment during activities and avoiding impact to the thigh will help prevent thigh contusions.
Proper treatment of a thigh contusion will ensure that there are no future complications. Flexibility and strength should return to normal after rehabilitation of the injured muscle.