Strengthen Your Vastus Medialis To Help Manage Knee Pain
The vastus medialis muscle is a part of your quadriceps muscle group. Vastus medialis often referred to as vastus medialis oblique, or the VMO for short helps to stabilise the kneecap and is commonly regarded as a significant muscle in the fight against knee pain and/or injury. Strengthening the muscles around the knee is generally considered important in helping to stabilise the knee and prevent injury. When strengthening the knee the vastus medialis in many situations is the muscle given the most attention, specifically in situations where anterior knee pain is present.
Five Simple Vastus Medialis Exercises:
- Isometric Quadriceps Contraction: Starting position is sitting on the floor with your legs out straight in front of you (with or without a rolled up towel underneath your knee). Palpate the VMO to help feel for the muscle activation and ensure good contraction of the vastus medialis. Once set up contract the quadriceps and sustain the contraction for a period of around 5-30 seconds.
- Seated Isometric Quadriceps Contraction Coupled With Adduction: Sitting up high on a chair with your feet hanging freely, position a ball between your thighs and squeeze the ball together and straighten your knees activating the VMO. Use palpation of the VMO to ensure the correct muscle is engaged and increase hold duration as tolerance builds.
- Single Leg Squats: Good single leg squat control is a must for many athletes in the return to running, jumping… However single leg squats are a more advanced stability exercise for the knee and are generally included as a strengthening exercise when pain free and finding isolated or double leg exercises comfortable.
- Single Leg Taps: As with single leg squats these exercises are more advanced exercises engaging the VMO. Single leg taps are simply one of the many variations on single leg squats. Performing a single leg tap exercise requires you to maintain a quarter squat position on a single leg. Then holding this position you then tap your other foot around your body (working around the “clock face” often at 15min intervals). Maintaining good hip and knee posture during this exercise uses hip and knee stabilisers including the vastus medialis muscle which you should feel working strongly.
- Bosu Squats: Squatting on an unstable surface can help engage the VMO, performing squats whilst balancing on a Bosu can be a good way to try and get your vastus medialis muscle working.
A few other simple exercises options for working the quadriceps and vastus medialis are performing squats against the wall with a swiss ball positioned behind your back, or a split squat (static lunge) as well as step ups/downs. Having your personal trainer or physiotherapist help adjust and advise on your technique can help you choose the right VMO exercises for you and make sure you are working the muscle correctly.
Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance regarding How To Strengthen Your Vastus Medialis Muscle should consult his or her general practitioner, sports medicine specialist, personal trainer or physiotherapist.