The quads are naturally the most powerful muscle group in the body. However, injury or surgery can impair mobility in the area. Keeping your quads strong are a key part of recovery and healthy mobility.
So, what are the quads?
The quads are a group of four muscles located at the front part of your thigh. Their primary role is to extend (straighten) your knees and assist in flexing the hip. They are essential for a lot of functions such as:
• Getting up from a chair.
• Lifting something off the floor.
• Climbing the stairs.
• Walking in an optimal gait pattern.
These are the four muscles:
The rectus femoris is the only quad muscle that crosses both the knee and the hip.
The quads work in synergy with many other leg muscles, so when there's weakness in one muscle group, the other muscles can end up doing some overtime work, leading to repetitive stress-type injuries such as muscle strains and tendon pathologies.
Weakness in the quads can directly affect gait patterns. While walking, the quads actually control the knee motion during stance phase (phase of walking when your foot is on the ground) through something called an eccentric contraction. An eccentric contraction is when your muscles are contracting and lengthening at the same time. If you lack control of your stance phase of gait, you will compensate in various ways. Weak quads have also been shown to reduce gait speed, shorten the swing time and increase the stance time in women with knee arthritis and quadriceps weakness.