Running exposes you to many injuries, including corked thighs. Corked thighs, also called quadriceps hematomas, are painful injuries characterized by bleeding within your thigh muscles. Here are three things runners need to know about corked thighs.
How do corked thighs occur?
When you run, your quadriceps—the muscles in the fronts of your thighs—are active. If you change directions suddenly while you're running, like to avoid a rabbit hole or other obstacle on a grassy field, you could strain your quadriceps. Colliding with another runner during a race or jumping to avoid an obstacle can also strain your quadriceps and lead to this painful injury.
After straining your quadriceps, your ruptured muscle cells may bleed and form a hematoma. A hematoma is a mass of clotted blood that's trapped within your muscle. This results in corked thighs.
What are the signs of corked thighs?
If you strain your quadriceps muscles, you may feel a sharp pain in the front of your legs. After this pain, you'll lose function in your injured muscles and may not be able to finish your run. In other cases, runners don't feel the pain until they reach the end of their run. Whether your pain is immediate or slow to develop, you may see swollen areas on the fronts of your legs.
How are corked thighs managed?
Immediately after your injury, you'll need to follow the RICE principle, a standard treatment for athletic injuries. Rest your injured legs, apply ice to the sore areas, use compression bandages to help control swelling, and elevate your sore legs.
Runners World magazine explains that even a minor strain to your quadriceps muscles can affect both your strength and your flexibility, so you may need to go to physiotherapy to regain your pre-injury running ability. Physiotherapy may involve being led through gentle, non-painful stretches; stretches should be done when your muscles are warm, so you can expect to do some simple warmup exercises before your stretching session begins.
To strengthen your weakened muscles, your physiotherapist may have you do exercises like straight leg raises. Once your strength starts to come back, you'll progress to harder strength training. Your physiotherapist will let you know when you've recovered enough to start running again.
If the fronts of your legs start to hurt during or after your run, you may be suffering from corked thighs and should see your doctor right away for treatment.
For more information, contact Hands-On Physical Therapy or a similar location.