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Quadriceps StrainQuadriceps strains (most often affecting the rectus femoris muscle) commonly occur during kicking in sports such as soccer or AFL. They can occur during running in football players, but are quite rare in track athletes. The timing of quadriceps strains in the gait cycle of kicking has not been proven (i.e. whether the strain occurs during ball contact, backswing or a ground contact phase), although they are more common during dry weather, which suggests that a ground contact phase may be involved.
In contrast to hamstring strains, which generally occur acutely when sprinting, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment that a quadricep strain occurs. In running injuries, the mechanism appears to be an under-stride (e.g. caused by a player running at full speed being errantly dealt a pass which arrives ‘behind' him).
In kicking injuries, the last stride of the kicking leg is also an under-stride by comparison to the previous steps of the players. In these cases, the quadriceps group appears to be under greater than normal stretch towards the end of the ground contact phase of the step associated with the injury. Rectus femoris strains may occur due to under-striding when trying to slow down, or in the final step of the kicking motion. This may be opposite to the mechanism of a hamstring strain, which is probably caused by over-striding when running at full speed.