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Quadriceps Weakness

What is Quadriceps Weakness?

There are numerous possible causes of weakness in the quadriceps muscle (the large muscle in the front of the thigh). Some of the more common causes are Motor Neurone Disease (MND), CVA (stroke), Polio,osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and disuse atrophy (muscle wasting) e.g. following immobilisation of the knee joint in a plaster cast for a number of weeks.


There may be a difficulty in actively extending (straightening) the knee joint. There may also be difficulty in maintaining the stability of a slightly flexed (bent) knee joint when it is loaded. There may be some pain associated with activity of the quadriceps muscle group.


Treatment will depend on the severity of the problem; options include:

• A lightweight pull-on knee sleeve to provide sensory input.

Ground Reaction AFO for significant weakness where considerable forces are required to stabilise the joint for weight bearing

• A Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis (KAFO) when the knee joint has to be held in full extension to allow weight bearing