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Your Guide to Returning to the Ice from a Quadriceps Contusion


Beth Clute, Athletic Trainer, explains the X’s and O’s of quadriceps contusions, treatment and getting back on the ice. In the highly physical and quick pace of hockey, there are bound to be some injuries. Quadriceps contusions or thigh bruise is one common hockey injury

The quadriceps consist of four muscles grouped together which straighten the knee. Injury to this area can limit a player’s function both on and off the ice. A thigh bruise comes from a forceful blow to the muscle by a puck or contact with another player. The results consists of micro tearing of the muscle fibers.

Most thigh bruises are not severe enough for an immediate visit to the doctor’s office. There are times when it may be beneficial. Consulting an athletic trainer, physical therapist or physician can help to determine the severity of the injury.  The severity this injury is based on the amount of pain, loss of function, swelling and bruising. The time to return to play will be dependent upon how severe the contusion is.

After the impact the bruised area will be painful and hard to bend. Immediately following the injury, a player should use RICE:

  • Rest the leg by limiting the amount of activity and stress. This may include using crutches for more severe contusions.
  • Ice the area while keeping the knee in a slightly bent position to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Compression using an ace wrap to keep swelling under control and provide support.
  • Elevation of the leg with a pillow keeping the knee in a slightly bent positon.

Rehabilitation should include gentle range of motion and light quadriceps exercises. This will help ensure flexibility and strength returns.

To prevent and reduce the severity of this injury, it is important to make sure your hockey breezers fit. Hockey players recovering from a contusion may use more padding. This will cut the chance of sustaining a harmful blow to the quadriceps.

Following these tips can help you get back on the ice in no time.

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