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General Medical Questions
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Question : Do I need to see a doctor for a quad muscle strain? I need a cane to walk with it. Is this a sign that it’s a severe strain?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Robert H. Shmerling, M.D. is associate physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. He has been a practicing rheumatologist for over 20 years at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is an active teacher in the Internal Medicine Residency Program, serving as the Robinson Firm Chief. He is also a teacher in the Rheumatology Fellowship Program.

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June 11, 2014
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A strain is a muscle injury in which microscopic muscle fibers are injured, stretched or torn. The most common cause is applying too much stress on the muscle. For example, lifting a heavy object or jogging faster or farther than usual can lead to a muscle strain. 

Strains may range in severity from mild to severe. When severe, a large number of muscle fibers may separate from one another; this is called a muscle rupture. Bruising, due to bleeding under the skin, may accompany muscle rupture.

In most cases, symptoms are mild and resolve over a few days.  Therefore, most people with a muscle strain do not need to see a physician. However, it is unusual for a muscle strain to require the use of a cane.  If your symptoms are due to a muscle strain, it is a severe strain or even a muscle rupture.  However, you could have another cause of pain.

So, unless you are getting better on your own, I think it would be a good idea for you to see your doctor for evaluation. He or she can confirm the diagnosis (or identify a different diagnosis) and, if necessary, recommend treatment.

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