Sore Quads: How Stretches And Massage Therapy Can Help

Quad massages and stretches can help ease pain and improve recovery.

Sore quads

The muscles of the quadriceps consist of four muscles that are large and found in the thigh’s front portion. These four muscles are further broken down into vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris. The said muscles are considered quite powerful especially since they are tasked with propulsion and major movements. Some routines that can enhance the muscles of the quadriceps (also informally referred to as quads) include leg extensions, squats, and leg presses. 

But what do the quads do? They all do the tasks needed to straighten or extend the knee. The rectus femoris shall also be responsible for the flexing of the hip, the vastus medialis, on the other hand, is responsible for the adduction of the thigh and also in the extension and external rotation of the thighs, and kneecap stabilization. Generally speaking, sore quads are used to extend a bent knee. For daily activities, the quads help individuals in getting up from being seated, walking, squatting, and climbing stairs. These muscles are also utilized in running and walking during the start of a stride and is also crucial when moving downhill. 

Quads also get worked out significantly during cycling and as such, cyclists have well-developed quads. These specific muscles are also needed when people jump and in certain sports such as basketball. The quads serve as an antagonist to the gluteal and hamstring muscles which are involved in walking and running. Tight quads can adversely affect the said muscles.

Some Exercises and Stretches For Sore Quads

Some workout sessions can give the quads a natural workout such as stair climbing, cycling, and sprinting. Some exercises classified as a compound for the quads include Smith Machine Squats, leg press, deadlifts, lunges, squats, and sprints. Isolation exercises of these muscles ar exercise machines for the outer and inner thigh and leg extensions. 

On the other hand, stretches are commonly done to relieve tight quads. Most cyclists and runners will experience tight quads. Quadriceps that are tight can lead to an imbalance with the gluteal and hamstrings muscles which can be addressed by the said stretches.

Things to Consider before Getting a Massage

Once the muscles are aching and they feel swollen and tight, individuals will naturally look for ways to alleviate the pain and find release from the said tightness. A massage that addresses deep tissues may be considered by individuals. However, the question is “Are these massages safe while people are extremely sore? Or will the massage make things worse for the tender muscles?” The best and direct answer to this question is that people should avail themselves of a massage and is generally safe after working out. 

Massages after working out can be likened to foam rolling in that it can be an ideal strategy to have toxic waste flushed out especially the ones produced while working out. Several considerations though should be kept in mind and these are:

Recovering from an injury

People who are suffering from an injury or injuries should not consider massage as a viable option. There is a huge difference between feeling extremely sore and while undergoing recovery from an injury of the musculoskeletal system. For individuals suffering from self-sustained injuries (such a hamstring that is pulled) then people must wait it out for one to two days before trying to get massaged. A deep tissue massage can worsen matters. An alternative is to apply ice on the areas that are tender and to rest to help in the reduction of the inflamed muscles.

Experiencing soreness

For people who are experiencing soreness, then they are advised to delay that deep and heavy tissue massage for a later time. If there is significant muscle tenderness, then a traditional Swedish massage (or a massage that is relaxation) is the ideal option as it can aid in lymph circulation and blood stimulation and can help transport blood that is oxygenated into the tender areas. This oxygenated blood can aid in flushing out lactic acid or toxic waste from the muscles which are the major reason for muscle soreness.

Sore quads are generally caused by small tears in the fibers of the muscle and the resulting inflammation of the aforementioned tears. These inflamed tears in the muscles are caused by released body substances referred to as cytokines, and the good news is that massage has been observed to help in the suppression of the said molecule from getting released, which in turn lowers the risk of the muscles getting inflamed. Once a reduction in the inflammation occurs, a reduction in pain should also be reduced and should lead to reduced sensitivity to touch and improving overall recovery.

If traditional Swedish massage is inadequate for the individual’s delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS, it is best to choose a sports massage or deep tissue massage that is stronger. It is crucial though, that the reaction of the body is observed. It may include immediate spasms or cramps. This can occur if the if their excessive inflammation is present. For those who will feel some pain in the middle of the massage, then it is best to ask the therapist to stop the massage immediately to prevent having the muscles irritated much further.

Each kind of pain, sore quads, ache, and the individual will have different reactions for each massage. While individuals can get some form of relief during these massages, other individuals may feel some tenderness in portions that were massaged. Whatever the individual is feeling, as long as it is not making the pain worse, then the massage is providing some positive effects. Massages can be taken in two days, but it is recommended that individuals wait for at least five days. During this time, individuals must do some exercise that is light and to drink plenty of water.

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