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 Relieving Knee Pain

Many different factors may influence the onset of knee pain—overuse injuries, trauma, post-surgical issues, and muscular imbalances, to name a few. One general theme in rehabilitating knee pain, despite the above etiologies, is the isolation of the medial compartment, or the VMO (vastus medialis oblique). At Oregon Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Center, LLC in Portland, Oregon, we offer the solutions you need to relieve your knee pain.

About the VMO

This muscle is one of the four quadriceps that rest closer to the midline of the body. It plays a crucial role in the distribution of forces on the patella. Quite often, we find knee pain associated with an inflammatory response within the structures in that area, whether this is in inert structures like cartilage/ligament and bursa or contractile tissue, such as muscle and tendon.

Inflammation & Irritation

With only a trace of inflammation, the VMO can literally be shut down or non-effective in its function. Post surgically, e.g., meniscus or ligament, the VMO is the first muscle of the quadriceps to atrophy and the last one to regain full functional strength. The VMO functions to initiate the contraction of the quadriceps. Its timing sequence is crucial.

Any inflammation in this region of the knee can delay its firing sequence, causing it lag behind. When this happens, the patella can deviate laterally or away from the midline of the body. In extreme cases, this can lead to subluxation of the patella or even dislocated patella. Another common post-surgical secondary issue seen with knee rehab is irritation from improper tracking of the patella over the femoral condyles.

PT Recommendation

Our recommendation is isolated strengthening for the medial quadriceps (VMO) of the knee and stretching of the lateral compartments (distal IT band, vastus lateralis, and lateral retinaculum). There are a few basic exercises you can incorporate into your routine to promote proper symmetry relieve pain in the knee. 

Isolated strengthening can be done by performing quadriceps sets, straight leg raises, or the Theraband™ in sitting (0°- 30°). Stretching the lateral structures can be done in standing, e.g., for the right  knee—cross the left foot over the right with both knees fully extended, then slowly slide your hands down towards the left side of the right foot until a gentle stretch is felt, and hold for 30 seconds.

Contact us to learn more about our solutions for knee pain relief.