Knee Pain – VMO Activation – Vianna Ross

 In Lower Limb

Knee Pain VMO activation exercise.

This video is for knee injuries or knee pain.

The Quadriceps

The quadriceps muscles (front thigh muscles) are a group of 4 muscles that work together to help you to move and walk.

Knee Pain Pathology

What can happen with knee pain is the medial section (inner most section) of the quadriceps muscle often become inactive or “switches off”. It is very important to begin to activate this portion of the quadriceps (VMO) as soon as possible as if not activated soon enough, this often leads to other issues arising in the knee such as Patello Femoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS).

PFPS causes more pain in the knee and creates a vicious cycle. PFPS is an umbrella term for patella (knee cap) and femor (thigh bone) pain. The knee cap begins to track more towards to outermost part of the leg with movements such as walking, going up or down stairs, and squatting (pretty much any movement when one bends the leg).

This exercise helps to reactivate the muscle that helps the knee cap to track in the correct way as one bends through their knee range of motion. It is great to use this exercise if you believe your VMO is not switching on properly.

Identifying the VMO


You can feel your VMO by placing your hand just above your knee cap while in a long seated position on the ground (with your legs out in front). Place your thumb on the inner most portion of your quadriceps and the other fingers on the outer portion of the quadriceps. Then push your knee into the floor. When you do this you shoulder feel the quadriceps muscles contracting under your fingers and thumb. Both portions of the quadriceps shoulder activate at the same time. If the medial (inner most portion) does not then this is the exercise for you to begin with.

If you are unsure it is important you consult your physiotherapist.

Vianna Ross

POGO Associate Physiotherapist

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