Muscle imbalance is one of the most frequent things I see in injured athletes. The knee is also one of the most commonly injured joints. Knee pain affects both athletes and non-athletes. Most people suffer through knee pain not realizing that if you strengthen the muscles around your knees, it will help stabilize the knee and avoid injury and often eliminates the pain. It’s also extremely important to strengthen your legs if you are an athlete to reduce the chance of injury. Similarly even if you undergo knee surgery or have a replacement, muscle strengthening and balance are often the keys. Knee exercises are crucial to recovery from any injury.
One thing that many people dont realize is that they might have weakness or an imbalance in the strength of the muscles in their leg. Inactivity or an injury can cause certain muscles to atrophy. One of the most common muscles in the leg that is affected is the vastus medialis oblique (VMO).
The vastus medialis oblique (VMO) is located on the front and is the most medial of your quadriceps muscles. Your VMO is really the main muscle that stabilizes your knee cap (patella) and keeping it in line when you bend your knee. Runners and others if they suffer a knee injury, often lose strength in their VMO. VMO weakness further contributes to knee instability and knee pain and may lead to further knee injuries. Runners can develop deep pain called chondromalacia and jumpers can also develop infrapetellar tendon pain that often times leads to results from VMO weakness.
Here is my favorite exercise to help strengthen your VMO. Get on a step and gradually drop your heal to the ground and lift it back up. This exercise isolates and activates your VMO. I recommend sets of 20-30 three times a day.