National Associaltion of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists - Symptom Checker

Rectus Femoris
This is the technical name of the muscle being described.  This name may be used to find additional information in any medical resource. Rectus Femoris
A group of muscles generally denotes muscles of the same function and may share a common attachment point. Quadriceps (Quads)
Muscle function, in this definition, is what the muscle could do if it was to contract by itself with the body in anatomical position.  This is a general definition of muscle function.  For more information on how muscles work together on the body please refer to a physiology or functional anatomy text.

The rectus femoris will extend the leg at the knee and, because of its pelvic attachment, will allow this quadricep to flex the thigh at the hip.             

A description of where a Myofascial Trigger Point may produce pain in the body.  This area is generally located away from the trigger point.

Pain may be felt in the patella (knee cap) and sometimes deep in the knee joint.

A description of the symptoms a person may experience with trigger points in the muscle being described.

A person with TrPs in the rectus femoris may display episodes of pain at night over the front of the thigh just above the patella (knee cap).


 A list of possible diseases that fit the information derived from examination of a patient.

  1. Adductor longus TrPs.
  2. Torn meniscus, tendonitis, and bursitis.
  3. Chondromalacia patellae – more common in runners.
  4. Patellofemoral dysfunction

A list of activities or positions that may either CAUSE a trigger point to manifest or PROLONG a pain condition respectively.

  1. Diabetic patients who inject insulin into the front of the thigh may inject a latent TrP in the rectus femoris or the vastus lateralis and cause it to activate.
  2. Sudden eccentric contraction such as stepping into a hole, stepping off a curb, or stumbling.
  3. Exercising such as deep knee bends
  4. Hamstring tightness can cause a sustained overload in the rectus femoris, which can cause a person to complain of referred pain from the rectus.
  5. Active soleus TrPs can restrict ankle dorsiflexion and overload the rectus.
  6. Immobilization of the knee from a cast or brace can activate TrPs and cause a pain complaint after the device is removed. 
  7. Sitting with the foot tucked under the buttock, which may be a subconscious way of correcting a small hemipelvis.

A corrective action is usually a modification of daily routine which will reduce stress on the affected muscle(s) in a person with myofascial trigger points.

  1. Avoid overload by learning to correctly pick up heavy objects from the floor which will spare the quadriceps as well as the paraspinals (back muscles).
  2. Deep knee bends and full squats should be prohibited as so not to overload the quadriceps.  A partial squat, however, is relatively safe if the thigh does not drop lower than the horizontal position, which would be parallel to the floor.

References : 
Simons DG, Travell JG, Simons LS, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, vol 1, 2nd Ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1999.

Travell JG, Simons DG, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, vol 2. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1992.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.  A proper diagnosis should be sought from a licensed health care provider.