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Injury clinic: Thigh strain

Where’s the pain?
You’ll recognise a thigh strain as an instantaneous sharp and shooting pain that hits you during running or kicking the ball. The front of the leg, between the knee and the hip, is the danger area.

Here’s what’s going on...
The fibres making up the thigh muscle are stretched or even torn when the muscle comes under significant strain. As the thigh muscle is so important during kicking and running – especially sprinting – it’s at great risk of a strain, which will be little short of agonising at first, but with the pain subsiding over days and weeks.

Time out of the game
If the strain is a small one (grade one) you’ll be on the sidelines for just seven to 10 days, but if the fibres are more damaged (grade two) expect to be in charge of the half-time oranges for anything between two and eight weeks. A grade three thigh strain is very serious, with the treatment table time eight weeks or more.

Make sure it doesn’t happen again
As well as a good, thorough warm-up for 15-25 minutes before each match, including stretches, jogging and gentle football movements, you should prepare your body away from the game. Performing squats, lunges and general leg exercises will improve your leg strength and power, to prevent these injuries occurring. Just remember: an injured player is no good to anyone.

Advice and treatment provided by former Bolton, Burnley and Wigan head physio Andy Mitchell