Although the term “quadriceps” technically may refer to any four-headed muscle, it usually refers to and is synonymous with the quadriceps muscle of the thigh, the large muscle that comes down the femur (the bone of the upper leg), goes over the patella (the kneecap) and anchors into the top of the tibia (the big bone in the lower leg). The function of the quadriceps is to extend (to straighten out) the leg.

President Bill Clinton had surgery in 1997 to repair the quadriceps tendon in his right knee, which he tore stumbling on steps. The quadriceps stretch exercise is designed to help prevent this type of injury.

For those who are into Latin, this muscle’s full formal name is musculus quadriceps femoris. For those who prefer nicknames, it is the quad.

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  • Quadriceps stretch

    Lie on side. Rest head on pillow or hand. Bend knee that is on top. Grab heel of that leg. Gently pull that leg until front of thigh stretches. Hold position. Reverse position and repeat.

  • Quadriparesis

    Weakness of all four limbs, both arms and both legs, as from muscular dystrophy.

  • Quadriplegia

    Paralysis of all four limbs, both arms and both legs, as from a high spinal cord accident or stroke.

  • Quadriplegic

    Pertaining to quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs — both arms and both legs), as from a high spinal cord accident.

  • Qualified health claim

    “Calcium may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.” For example, in 2004 the FDA announced a qualified health claim for the reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) on conventional foods that contain eiscosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) omega-3 fatty acids.

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