Dead Leg/ quadriceps Haemotoma/contusion
A dead leg is the common name for a contusion. This occurs when a muscle suffers an impact injury, which causes muscular damage as it is crushed against the underlying bone. This type of injury is most common in contact sports where hard balls or equipment such as hockey sticks are used.
A contusion can occur at any muscle, although are most common in the thigh and hamstring muscles. Contusions can be either intramuscular or intermuscular. Intermuscular tears cause more bruising and appear more severe than intramuscular tears, although often heal quicker.
- Pain at the point of impact.
- Swelling or bruising.
- Reduced range of motion is common.
Like muscle strain, contusions can be graded, depending on severity, as either grade 1, 2 or 3.
It is very important to treat the injury as soon as possible after it happening. The first thing you should do is apply ice or cold therapy to the area. This will help ease pain and reduce bleeding and swelling. Keep applying ice every 2-3 hours. Follow the rest of the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol too.
Physiotherapy can help by using soft tissue massage techniques and electrotherapy such as ultrasound to speed up healing. It is important not to neglect a dead leg as it may lead to a condition known as myositis ossificans see below
If you have a bad muscle strain or contusion (dead leg!) and it is neglected then you could be unlucky enough to get Myositis Ossificans. It is usually as a result of impact which causes damage to the sheath that surrounds a bone (periostium) as well as to the muscle. Bone will grow within the muscle (called calcification) which is painful. The bone will grow 2 to 4 weeks after the injury and be mature bone within 3 to 6 months.
What causes Myositis Ossificans?
- Not applying cold therapy and compression immediately after the injury.
- Having intensive physiotherapy or massage too soon after the injury. Make sure you attend an experienced chartered physiotherapist.
- Returning too soon to training after exercise.
- Symptoms of Myositis Ossificans include:
- Restricted range of movement.
- Pain in the muscle when you use it.
- A hard lump in the muscle.
- An X-ray can show bone growth.
What is a pulled hamstring or hamstring strain?
A hamstring strain or a pulled hamstring as it is sometimes called is a tear in one or more of the hamstring muscles. Strictly speaking there are three hamstring muscles (Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus andBiceps femoris) which are known as the hamstring muscle group.
Treatment of a Pulled Hamstring: What can I do?
It is vitally important that treatment for a pulled hamstring starts immediately following injury. The most important phase for treatment is the first 48 hours post-injury. In this time the following can be carried out by the athlete themselves:
- Use Cold Therapy (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) technique
- Use a compression bandage to minimize intra muscular bleeding.
- Early mobilization of the injured lower limb is vital for the correct rehabilitation of the muscle. This includes stretching and strengthening exercises throughout the pain free range. These can aid with decreasing the swelling in the area. In addition, exercise will ensure that any new material will be laid down in correct orientation thus reducing the risk of subsequent injuries.
At Wicklow Physiotherapy Clinic we believe in identifying the cause of the hamstring injury. We frequently find that patients who recurrently pull their hamstrings often suffer from lumbar spine or lower back problems and almost always will have a muscle imbalance as in the hamstrings are overworking in response to weakness in other muscle groups.
A full assessment will be carried out at your first visit in order to identify the contributing factors to the problem and these will be addressed in your specific rehabilitation programme.