Strengthen that VMO
Good Morning. Happy FRIDAY! Holy Moly it’s finally here. I know I say it every week, but every week it feels good to say it’s the weekend. I always have BIG plans to get a lot of stuff done, and usually about half gets done. This week I am saying okay, I’m doing NOTHING! That way maybe I will accomplish things 😉
Yesterday morning I woke up to a little dog huffing in my face. It was 4:30am and Phoebe was pouncing on my chest, swatting me with her paws. I kept pushing her off and saying come on Phoebs, give Mommy a few more minutes… but she insisted. Then I felt guilty and realized she was super thirsty and downed an entire bowl of water. Mom fail.
I was SUPER close to calling out of work because I slept with my knee underneath a huge pile of pillows. It just ached all night long and I could barely sleep. By the time morning rounds hit at 6 am and my team was running up the stairs seeing patients, I thought I was going to scream. I was going to leave around lunch time, but decided to stick it out for a few more hours instead because it felt better a little later on. Injuries suck!
After showing some of the ortho PAs the picture of my knee, we all decided it was a weird spot to have swelling (above the knee cap) for the condition I have. Basically I have patellofemoral syndrome or “runners knee”. This happens in A LOT of active women that causes the knee to track incorrectly due to improper alignment. My left knee sort of deviates off to the side, causing shooting pains down the front of my knee cap and feels like something is ripping it apart when I go down steps or lunge. I often hear and feel a clicking sound as well, along with the fluid and arthritis I already have in that knee, not cool.
I’m sure someone out there is reading this saying THIS IS ME!
So why does it happen mostly in females? Well our pelvis is wider than the male pelvis. This leads to the quadricep tendon being further out, which runs into the patellar tendon. The angle between these two tendons gives you an idea if your knee problem is due to mal alignment. The higher the angle, the more likely your pain is caused by a tracking problem. But you can tell mine is not aligned properly by just looking at it!
What do I do to fix this little problem? Well I’ve dealt with it for years so suffer in silence? I was told today to do quad strengthening exercises, but come on do I really need to strengthen my quads? Let’s be real…
Turns out I do! There is a muscle in your body called the Vastus Medialis Obliquus or VMO, (the inner side of your knee by your knee cap).
This area needs to be targeted SPECIFICALLY to get your knee cap back on track. I thought all my work was fine, but I was told squats, lunges, and all the other things I do to strengthen my quads do not hit this specific muscle! See you learn something new every day. I’m lucky to work in medicine with great co-workers of all different fields 🙂
Now I’m on a mission to recorrect this problem so I can have a normal life again (or manageable).
Here are some exercises I found that I am going to try this weekend:
- Straight leg lifts (on mat)
- External rotation straight leg lifts (on mat-heel inside, toe pointing out)
- Stability ball squats (ball against the wall)
- Cable pulls/extensions with foot in the loop (pulling in and out)
- Foam roller contractions (foam roller underneath knee, squeeze quad muscle for 5 seconds and release)
- small ball squeezes (small medicine ball in between thighs, squeeze for 5 seconds and release)
- Plie squats
I think I am going to do these on Saturday! I don’t want to jump back into legs too soon and re-injure myself.
Sorry today was super nerdy and medical! I spent the whole day at work sitting at a desk doing notes and paperwork type stuff because after rounds I was really feeling my knee pain. I came straight home and rested again. I hate it!
Tomorrow’s blog will be back to normal and I will be going to Wegmans. Yay! Fun recipes to come this weekend hopefully.
Have a good one, and protect those knees, you only get two! 🙂
XOXO With a Cherry On Top,