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 πŸ˜‰

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.

arf get up

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…

Strong quads! Thanks to leg days :)
Strong quads! Thanks to leg days πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 Β 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! πŸ™‚

XOXO With a Cherry On Top,


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  1. Anna

    Glad you’re looking into things to do for you knee. I’ve been dealing with knee pain the past month (due to running 4-5 times a week). I have since had to stop and take it easy. It hurt enough this morning that I knew today was going to be an off day. Sometimes taking it easy, and taking a day or two off, can really help, too! (at least from my experience)

    Hope your knee feels better soon!

    1. Katie

      Any tips for running? I am doing that half marathon in February! I already paid for it! Eek

      1. Anna

        I am by no means a “runner”… yet. I didn’t run during my weight loss journey, but now i’m able to do 4-5 miles at a time. I started out doing 2 miles, upping it to 3, then 4, then 5. I’m sure I could keep going if I wanted, but i’m comfortable with the 4-5 mile mark πŸ™‚

        A friend of mine was preparing for a half a while back and sent me this link:

        Check it out!

        1. Katie

          I will check it out! Thanks πŸ™‚

  2. Chelsea @ LittleOneRuns

    I liked this post lol, I love learning new things about the body. I hope those workouts help!! It really does suck to be out of commission and not able to workout, I hate it when I injure something. Oh! And I love Phoebe’s little donut (bed?), too cute!

    1. Katie

      Lol it is a donut bed! My mom bought it for Shelby at Walgreens and she never used it. So now Phoebe plays on it. She loves pillow type things on the floor while I blog

  3. Caitlin

    I have this as well! So comforting to know that it’s not just me. I do physiotherapy exercises every day to strengthen that muscle, as soon as it starts increasing in strength your knee feel so so much better and stronger. Although, I still can’t do lunges πŸ™ xx

    1. Katie

      Yeah I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do successful lunges, and the ortho PA told me not to πŸ™

  4. Elizabeth

    Yep, this has been ME exactly. I actually went through 6 weeks of physical therapy doing almost all of the exercises you have listed. Like you, I was like, what? My legs are rock hard and strong! Haha… not so much as I thought.

    My therapist also had me work on the leg press – this has been huge. At the start of therapy I could barely press 100 pounds, now I do anywhere from 175-190, and almost by body weight in single leg.

    Its an ongoing process. I hope yours clears up nicely!

    1. Katie

      I thought Leg presses would hurt them! I press old fashioned (with plates) around 150 now but it kills me! The machines I can press past the 200s. Any tips?

  5. Rebecca Daley

    I enjoy reading the medical explanations. I have been a vet tech for many years (in specialty medicine) and a lot of what you do parallels what I have done. Scrubbing in was my favorite (pericardial windows in particular are crazy cool!):)

    1. Katie

      Ha yeah surgeries are fun!

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