Muscle pulls are strains, or, in severe cases, tears of muscles. Since the quad muscle is a strong muscle involved in supporting the body's movement while upright, pulled quads can be painful and crippling injuries. However, like many other injuries, with a proper rehab plan, it can be overcome. The typical plan will include rest, ice, heat and stretching.
The amount of time an individual can expect to miss depends on how serious the injury is. A grade 1 strain can keep someone out for about three weeks before it is fully healed. A grade 2 strain can last for more than a month. A grade 3 strain, the most severe, can require surgery to repair torn muscle tendons and can take at least three months to fully recover. For less severe injuries, rest does not mean the complete cessation of all physical activity. It can mean alternative exercises that do not put as much stress on the quad or even workouts that are reduced in duration and intensity.
Ice and Heat
Ice should be applied to the injured area as soon as possible after the injury occurs and then every few hours after for 15 to 20 minutes. As recovery is taking place, ice should also be applied at the conclusion of any exercise. Ice helps to reduce the amount of swelling in the area. Heat should be used before starting to exercise. Apply a heat pack for 15 to 20 minutes on the pulled quad to warm up the area so it will stretch easier and not tear during exercise.
Stretching is important because it helps to align the newly forming muscle tendons with the old to improve the strength of the muscle and decrease the risk of tearing the muscle again in the future. Also, more flexible muscles are less likely to tear, so stretching should be continued even after the injury has healed. The most common quad stretch is to bend the knee and bring the foot up to the rear end, or as high as it will go.