How to treat a pulled thigh muscle

Written by maryann depietro
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How to treat a pulled thigh muscle
(David De Lossy/Valueline/Getty Images)

The thigh muscles consist of three different sets of muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings and adductor muscles. They are each some of the strongest muscles in the body. A pulled thigh muscle occurs when the muscle fibres are torn slightly. Because the thigh muscles are used in many types of activities, such as running and jumping, a pulled muscle is very common. Symptoms of a pulled thigh muscle include pain in the thigh and possible bruising. Although a pulled thigh muscle is a not a serious injury, treatment may help promote healing and reduce discomfort.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Give the muscle a rest. Continuing to engage in the same activities which caused the strain may cause further injury or delay healing. If a pulled thigh muscle is severe, it may be suggested you stay off your feet as much as possible. When sitting keep your leg elevated, which can reduce swelling.

  2. 2

    Use ice. When a thigh muscle is pulled, swelling may occur. Applying ice to the thigh for 15 minutes a few times a day may reduce the swelling and the pain. Wrap an ice pack in a clean towel and place it on the part of the thigh muscle which is pulled. Avoid putting ice directly on the skin which can cause injury. Ice is usually most effective if used for the first day or two after the injury.

  3. 3

    Wrap the thigh muscle in a compression bandage. This helps reduce swelling, which can contribute to discomfort. Although the bandage needs to be tight enough to help reduce swelling, making it too tight can cut off circulation. If you feel numbness or tingling in the thigh muscle, loosen the bandage.

  4. 4

    Take over-the-counter pain medication. The pain involved in most pulled thigh muscles can usually be reduced with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen.

  5. 5

    Undergo physiotherapy. Most pulled thigh muscles will heal within a few weeks and will not require further treatment. However, if you have severe muscle pulls or if the muscle is repeatedly pulled, your doctor may suggest physiotherapy after the majority of the pain is gone. A therapist may use ice, heat or water therapy to speed up healing. A therapist may also teach strengthening and stretching exercises to improve the range of motion and prevent future pulls.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep in mind that many pulled thigh muscles can be prevented by warming up before engaging in various types of physical activities.
  • If pain does not subside within a few weeks or increases, consult your doctor to rule out more serious conditions.

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