Here we are covering what exactly a corky is and what the best recovery is to get you back on the field quicker. (Please note that this advice is for a mild (grade 1) corky, any corked muscle worse in severity of pain and loss of movement needs professional medical opinion from your Osteopath or healthcare practitioner.)
What is a corky?
A corky, also known as a muscle contusion, occurs when a sudden impact or direct blow to a muscle causes bleeding and damage to the surrounding tissues. The sensation of a corky is often described as a deep, intense pain that lingers even after the initial impact. In other words, a corky involves that instant dead leg sensation you experience as your thigh is corked, resulting in you hobbling around the footy field as you continue to play, trying to ‘run’ it out.
What are some common corked muscle symptoms?
A corky is typically characterised by immediate pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness, limited range of motion, muscle weakness, and difficulty walking or moving. The injured area may become swollen and develop bruises. The muscle becomes tender to the touch, and movement is restricted. Temporary weakness in the affected area can also occur.
What is a corked quad?
A quadriceps contusion, commonly known as a ‘corky’ commonly appears in contact sports. The muscles are generally ‘kneed’ by the opponent, causing a crushing of your muscle against the bone, causing bleeding of the muscle.
Average corked thigh recovery time
The recovery time for a corked quad can vary depending on the severity of the injury. In most cases, mild to moderate corked thighs heal within 1-3 weeks with proper care. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) are commonly recommended in the initial stages to reduce swelling and pain.
Gentle stretching and range-of-motion exercises may be introduced as the pain subsides to maintain flexibility and prevent muscle stiffness. Severe corked thighs or cases accompanied by complications may require more extensive treatment and a longer recovery period.
How to treat a corky
The first step is to reduce as much bleeding as possible. Ice for the first 72 hours for 20 minutes every hour with the aim of reducing the swelling and bleeding. In conjunction with icing, applying a compression bandage or sock will assist in reducing the swelling, aiding in recovery. You should avoid sleeping with a compression bandage at night, as the body naturally swells. Avoiding alcohol is key during this time, as alcohol can increase the bleeding by thinning the blood, you also want to avoid heat and massage in this initial phase.
Following this initial phase, light stretching of the quad muscle will reduce muscle spasm assisting with recovery in the following days. Gentle quad stretching should be held for 30-60 seconds at a time. As the muscle begins to loosen up, light jogging can be of assistance. You can learn more about the different types of stretching in our blog post.
It is around this phase where you should consult a trained professional (your Osteopath), for some hands on treatment, working on loosening up the quad muscle and the surrounding compensating structures.
Remember before returning back to the field for a game, you should be able to run, jump and kick (getting through a full training session with ease) before you get back on the field.
Struggling with a Corky Injury? Book a FREE SPORTS INJURY ASSESSMENT with Living Health Group today!
If you are experiencing a corky and want to get back on the field quickly, book in for a free sports injury assessment with one of our qualified Osteopaths ONLINE or call 9561 1958.