Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2012

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TECHNIQUE ESSENTIAL SKILLS Quadriceps Injuries By Ben E. Benjamin Muscles in the anterior thigh are commonly injured. The quadriceps muscles are strong, but when they are fatigued you might be subject to sudden microtears in the muscle fibers. There is pain around the knee when the distal tendon is affected, and there can also be significant pain at the anterior portion of the hip when the proximal end is injured. But a pain in the anterior thigh with activity usually means a muscle tear has occurred. THE QUADRICEPS GROUP The word quadriceps refers to the large, strong, four- headed muscle that is the primary extensor of the knee. In most people, it is, in fact, the strongest muscle group in the human body. It is subdivided into four discrete sections, which have their own individual names. The rectus femoris is the most superficial quadriceps All four quadriceps muscles work in concert to extend the knee, and they are prime movers in walking, running, jumping, and squatting. muscle, and it covers the middle of the thigh as well as the majority of the other three quadriceps muscles. It begins at the anterior inferior iliac spine (AIIS), which is a little protrusion of bone that lies an inch or so inferior to the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS). The rectus femoris is the only quadriceps muscle that crosses two joints: both the hip and the knee. That means it has two functions: flexion of the hip and extension of the knee. The rectus femoris is critical when walking and running, because it helps swing the thigh forward for each new step. However, it is generally considered one of the weakest muscles in the quadriceps group. 106 massage & bodywork january/february 2012

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