Massage for your Quads
Your quadriceps “muscle” is actually a group of three large muscles and one smaller one that merge just above the knee. They are:
- vastus lateralis on the outside of the thigh
- vastus medialis on the inside
- the rectus femoris lying on top, right at the front of the thigh
- vastus intermedius in the center (hidden underneath the rectus femoris)
Due to the size, the quadriceps muscles often still feel mostly fine and functional, and perform as well as needed by the average person, or even by most athletes, even if there are plenty of trigger points present in the muscles. That's why most people don't necessarily feel there "tight" muscles until you get a Massage treatment and suddenly 'ouch', it's quite sore.
The quads are also one of the muscle groups in which only ONE of the four muscles is actually stretchable. Yep, almost 90% of the quad muscle can't be properly stretched due to the fact that only the rectus femoris crosses both the knee and the hip joint, the rest of them (the three vasti) just cross the knee joint and your knee only bends so far. So the "runner's stretch" you feel when you bend your knee and extend your hip at the same time is just the rectus femoris stretching.
To get relief from tightness, pain and other discomfort, Massage will help (more than stretching). Especially when done regularly and trigger point treatment is included. A lot of quadriceps aching, stiffness and fatigue emanates from an epicentre of “knotted” muscle in the lower third of the thigh, in the vastus lateralis, a huge muscle — one of your biggest — that dominates the lateral part of the leg. As previously mentioned, stretching is effectively impossible, but massage is an option.
It also often complicates or contributes to other problems in the area, especially runner’s knee (iliotibial band syndrome).
The “big two” runner’s knee injures — iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) and patellofemoral syndrome(PFPS) -- are primarily caused by tissue fatigue at the location of pain. When the tissues are irritated, everything bothers them.
Unfortunately, "loosening" a "tight" IT band will probably not be much help since the IT-band is a tendinous and fascial band (like a big tendon) that originates on the iliac crest (hipbone). It also attaches to the gluteal muscles and the tensor fascia latae muscle(TFL). It is separate from the quads altogether.
To look after your quads- stretch if it feels good, but be aware you are only stretching one muscle, have regular massages, apply heat on muscles that feel tight, take magnesium an other minerals, warm-up before exercise such as running.