This refers to damage and the resultant bleeding in and around the quadriceps muscle at the front of the thigh. It is the result of a direct blow to the thigh causing a crush injury to the muscle and bleeding into the muscle.
There will be considerable pain at the point of impact but many contact sports players manage to continue to play. As you cool down the bleeding and swelling will progress leading to further pain and stiffness. This may be sufficient to cause you to walk with a limp. It is advised that you stop play and start RICE treatment to limit the swelling and shorten your recovery period.
If you think you have this injury it is well worth getting it checked out by Mr Willis-Owen. It is important to treat this early with rest, ice, compression and elevation in order to minimise the bleeding and swelling. You should avoid any aggravating activities with may prolong the problem. You may need crutches for the first few days. It generally will get better on its own if diagnosed early and treated appropriately.
Treatment involves first confirming the diagnosis. Physiotherapy and anti-inflammatories are required. Usually a carefully directed graduated physiotherapy program is all that is needed but recovery can be slow for severe injuries. Good early treatment and rehabilitation is required to prevent ongoing problems, such as myositis ossificans, and chronic pain or weakness.
Rarely a significant contusion can cause compartment syndrome in the first 24-48 hours. This is a surgical emergency and needs immediate surgical attention. Go to accident and emergency!