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Susan Ivy
Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 4058
Experience:  BSN, MSN, CNS
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My thighs/quad muscles feel like they freeze up or lock up

Customer Question

My thighs/quad muscles feel like they freeze up or lock up when I do squats or squat down to do gardening, once I stand up and try to walk. What would cause this?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 8 years ago.



Thank you for writing to JustAnswer with your question. I'm sorry that no one was available to answer when you wrote in.


I have some questions that would help us distinguish what might be the problem.


I am interested in the type activity you participate in most of the day. For example, are you sitting at a desk, or are you running around chasing kids, etc.


Could you describe a bit more how often you are doing squats? Is this a regular part of your exercise routine that you are normally able to do without any problem?


Do you have any health conditions or do you take any medications?


Thank you, I'll look for your reply.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.



I have a sit down job. I excersice 3 to 4 times a week. Mostly it's cardio, walking on a treadmill. I use the bowflex a couple times a week, mostly for toning, not heavy lifting. And lately, I've just been doing cardio, I'd say for the past few months.


I was squatting down cutting some of my old flowers in the yard, not for very long, I'd say about 10 minutes of up and down. I also had this feeling a couple months ago when I was working out with a new weight machine I purchased. When I did the leg lift with the leg extension equipment that came with the machine, I got up after finishing some reps and got that freeze/lock up feeling and had to sit for about 10 minutes until they felt a little better. They were "off" or weak feeling for the next few days as well.


Squats are not normally any part of my workout routine at all.


I am currently taking Ativan for anxeity, Nexium for stomach issues and am now on iron pills for low iron levels.





Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 8 years ago.

It sounds like you are fairly active, that is great, I wish I would here that from more people.


Sit down jobs pretty commonly will tighten certain muscles, especially biceps femoris, semitendenousus mucscle (posterior of upper leg), and certain hip and lower back muscles. I learned this from a yoga instructing course (rather than nursing courses) but also then from observing yoga students as they come into classes and also from noticing patients after learning more about the muscles and tendons from the yoga perspective.


Stretching the muscles is very much neglected in most exercise regimens. We may do a few to "warm up" but generally don't do enough to counter-act 8 hours of sitting in a position where certain muscles are in a prolonged shortened position. Also, there are muscles, refered to as "core" muscles that are often neglected in "regular' exercise, as typical exercise routines often focus on muscles that are visible, or that produce a particular strength, rather than the core muscles of the body that help with balance and that do not show visibly the results of a work out.


Also, if you havent' been doing a lot of squats, this may be a factor too, as some of these muscles may be fairly strong from other excercises, but not exactly in the area's needed for squating. Squatting exercises generally are not easy if you haven't been doing them regulary.


It would really help to observe you to validate this, but, also as a yoga teacher might suggest, start paying more attention to the particular muscles and tendons when this occurs to distinguish what is going on.


But what I think may be occurring is that some muscles are overly weak or shortened, while others are strong.


My suggestion would be to integrate some squats into your regular routing, but also to focus more on stretching exercises. There are great examples of yoga for hips and legs online, as well as full courses. I personally believe learning complete yoga routines that stretch all the muscles are best, XXXXX XXXXX way your whole body becomes more equally balanced and stretched, as well as strengthened, and this helps with a lot of things such as preventing sport injuries, neck problems, lower back problems, etc., that often become almost expected as we age.


I noticed your history of anxiety, so I thought I'd mention how with yoga you learn to inhale as you flex muscles, and exhale as you release the muscle. This helps the muslce to stretch, but also decreases anxiety.


If you decided to take a yoga class, be sure to start with the type that is called "beginners" or "gentle" yoga. If you don't like the idea of yoga (it is not a religion as some people fear) you may prefer a pilates class which also includes strengtening of course muscles and stretching, but less focus on learning how to relax as well.


Of course, if this problem increases or does not relieve, you may want to see an orthopedist for examination and diagnosis. A physical therapist would likely be able to help with diagnosis, as long as the problem is indeed structurally related.


I hope this helps. If you have questions or comments, please reply.

Susan Ivy and 3 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.



Thank you so much for your response. I have been contemplating yoga for some time now, because of the muscle issues. I find I get stiff or sore from the littlest things I do in daily life, sore neck if I look to the side of me for too long, mopping my floors (aggressivley), my arms are sore, and lately, these muscle freezes in my quads.


And, of course, yoga for control of my anxiety.


Again, thanks so much for your input.





Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 8 years ago.

You are very welcome Arlene.


Heres a few web sites that I had found for a client in the past - these were focusing on hip and leg exercises. They may be fun for you to look at until you can get started in a class:


Here are some examples from the internet. Remember that in these cases some of the people are already fairly advanced - so my not be where you need to start, but a goal for you to obtain. You will likely need to start with a much less degree of stretch in the beginning.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you! I was just searching for a site that would have something for me to start out with, something that would be a "gentle" start to stretching for you said, a much less degree of stretching for me to begin with.



Expert:  Susan Ivy replied 8 years ago.
I hope these are helpful then, there are actually so many yoga websites now!