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Injuries involving the thigh are very common in sports. The quadriceps muscle on the front of the thigh is subjected to contusions because the quadriceps can receive direct blows. The hamstring muscle, on the back of the thigh, is more prone to sprains than contusions. The most common injury to the thigh is a contusion to the quadriceps muscle. It is often known as a "charley."


  • First Degree: minimal pain, no severe swelling; mild tenderness of muscle.
  • Second Degree: moderate pain and swelling; the knee becomes more difficult to flex.
  • Third Degree: Severe pain and tenderness; the knee becomes almost impossible to flex without severe pain.


  • Wrap thigh with a wet bandage to insulate skin (ace bandage).
  • Frequently ice the injury for 10-30 minutes.
  • Use crutches for second and third degree contusions.
  • Isometric exercises while using ice will control hemorrhaging.
  • Stretching.
  • A thigh sleeve or "donut pad" are often helpful on return to play.


  • Wear protective gear such as a thigh sleeve or protective padding.
  • Stretch and flex quadriceps often.
  • Strengthening exercises for thigh muscles.

Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.

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