Corked Thigh

Article by John Miller

What is a Corked Thigh?

Corked Thigh

Corked Thigh

(Also known as: "Dead Leg", Quadriceps Contusions, "Charleys Horse")

A corked thigh  is very common in contact sports. In simple teams, your thigh muscles are usually "kneed" by an opponent during a tackle or similar impact. The muscle is crushed against the underlying bone. The impact to the muscles causes significant bruising and bleeding both intramuscularly and also between the muscle and your femur (thigh bone).

It's damage can often be much more than you might expect for such a simple cause and these injuries should be treated with respect.  If not treated correctly or if treated too aggressively then Myositis Ossificans may result.

There are Two Types of Contusion

Intramuscular Contusion

This is a tearing of the muscle within the sheath that surrounds it. This means that the initial bleeding may stop early (within hours) because of increased pressure within the muscle. However, the fluid is unable to escape as the muscle sheath prevents it. The result is considerable loss of muscle function, power and pain which can take days or weeks to recover. You are not likely to see any bruising come out with this type - especially in the early stages. Physiotherapy and carefully performed Massage Therapy are highly recommended for a speedy recovery. These interventions are important to prevent functional morbidity related to the large compression issues and myositis ossificans.

Intermuscular Contusion

This is a tearing of the muscle and part of the sheath surrounding it. This means that the initial bleeding will take longer to stop especially if you do not ice it. However recovery is often faster than intramuscular as the blood and fluids can flow away from the site of injury. You are more likely to see bruising come out with this one. These injuries respond very well to Physiotherapy and Massage.

What are the Symptoms of a Corked Thigh?

  • Pain after being whacked in the leg.
  • You might get swelling or bruising.
  • Restricted movement and reduced power.

Corked Thigh Treatment?

Seek professional help quickly if you can. Otherwise implement a RICE regime until you can be assessed.

After two to three days check:

  • If the swelling has not gone then you probably have an intramuscular injury.
  • If the bleeding has spread and caused bruising away from the site of the injury then you probably have an intermuscular injury.
  • If you are more able to contract the muscle you probably have an intermuscular injury.
  • Can you feel a deformation in the muscle or a gap? If so, please seek professional assessment.

It is important the correct diagnosis is made. If you try to exercise on a complete rupture, or a bad intramuscular injury you can inhibit healing, make things worse or cause permanent disability. 

If you apply heat and massage in the early stages then you could get Myositis Ossificans (or bone forming within the muscle), then you are in trouble. Myositis ossificans can result in months or years away from sport.

Contusions are Graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on the Severity.

Grade 1

What does it feel like?

  • Tightness in the thigh.
  • Unable to walk properly.
  • Probably not much swelling.
  • Trying to straighten the knee against resistance probably won't produce much pain.
  • Lying on front and bending the knee should allow you nearly a full range of motion.

Grade 2

What does it feel like?

  • Probably cannot walk properly.
  • Occasional sudden twinges of pain during activity.
  • Possible swelling.
  • Pressing in causes pain.
  • Straightening the knee against resistance causes pain.
  • Unable to fully bend the knee.

Grade 3

What does it feel like?

  • You will be unable to walk properly without the aid of crutches.
  • You will be in severe pain.
  • You will have bad swelling appear immediately.
  • A static contraction will be painful and might produce a bulge in the muscle.
  • Expect to be out of competition for 3 to twelve weeks.

What Can the Athlete Do?

Seek medical attention immediately. R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate.) Use crutches.

Contact PhysioWorks Book Online

Common Treatments for Corked Thigh

  • Early Injury Treatment
  • Avoid the HARM Factors
  • Soft Tissue Injury? What are the Healing Phases?
  • What to do after a Muscle Strain or Ligament Sprain?
  • Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Sub-Acute Soft Tissue Injury Treatment
  • Gait Analysis
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Balance Enhancement Exercises
  • Proprioception & Balance Exercises
  • Agility & Sport-Specific Exercises
  • Medications?
  • Soft Tissue Massage
  • Brace or Support
  • Electrotherapy & Local Modalities
  • Heat Packs
  • Kinesiology Tape
  • Neurodynamics
  • Prehabilitation
  • Strength Exercises
  • Stretching Exercises
  • Supportive Taping & Strapping
  • TENS Machine
  • Video Analysis
  • FAQs about Corked Thigh

  • Common Physiotherapy Treatment Techniques
  • What is Pain?
  • Physiotherapy & Exercise
  • When Should Diagnostic Tests Be Performed?
  • Massage Styles and their Benefits
  • How Does Kinesiology Tape Reduce Swelling?
  • Heat Packs. Why do they feel so good?
  • How Can You Prevent a Future Leg Injury?
  • How Much Treatment Will You Need?
  • Sports Injury? What to do? When?
  • What are the Common Massage Therapy Techniques?
  • What are the Early Warning Signs of an Injury?
  • What is a TENS Machine?
  • What is Chronic Pain?
  • What is Nerve Pain?
  • What is Sports Physiotherapy?
  • What's the Benefit of Stretching Exercises?
  • When Can You Return to Sport?
  • Contact PhysioWorks Book Online

    Helpful Products for Corked Thigh

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    Related Injuries

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  • Corked Thigh
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  • ITB Syndrome
  • Knee Arthritis
  • Knee Ligament Injuries
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  • Muscle Strain (Muscle Pain)
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  • Sinding Larsen Johansson Syndrome
  • Thigh Strain

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    Last updated 23-Oct-2014 05:26 PM

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