Muscle strain of the rectus femoris may be associated with a number of clinical findings.

Patient at risk: sports such as soccer or football with repetitive sprinting, kicking and rapid decelerations.


Clinical features:

(1) The player experiences pain in the rectus femoris muscle.

(1a) An acute tear may be associated with a tearing sensation and an inability to continue play.

(1b) A subacute strain may be associated with pain while running or kicking that may become progressively worse.

(2) There is pain at the site of injury on palpation.

(3) Stretching and resisted knee extension are painful.

(4) The patient may have a past history of injury to the rectus femoris.

(5) Exclusion of other conditions.


The strain may be proximal, central or distal, usually at a myotendinous junction.


The diagnosis can be supported by MRI of the thigh.

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