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Q Angle & Quadriceps Strengthening

Q angle knee online personal training

written by runnergirl training

The Q angle is a measurement derived from measuring a line from the tibial tuberosity up to the midpoint of the patella (knee cap) & another line from the anterior superior iliac spine to the midpoint of the patella. A large Q angle can cause knee pain & injuries. See more below!

There is a variety of opinions in literature about the variance of Q angle and when it becomes problematic. Normal Q angle measurements for men is 14 degrees and for women 17 degrees. Women have a larger Q angle due to their naturally wider pelvis. A Q angle that is high means the patella does not glide over the knee correctly. The quadriceps’ angle of pull on the patella can move it away from a smooth gliding process over the trochlear groove. When this condition occurs across time it can result in pain from the trauma to the back of the patella. Also if the individual’s feet over-pronate it results in internal rotation of the tibia and causes additional strain on the tibia.

Treatments that can be done to reduce the Q angle often include massage for the over-tight muscles and strengthening the weak muscles. Often, the vastus medialis oblique (VMO) quadriceps muscle in the inner thigh is weak and needs to be strengthened. The muscles that generally are over-tight are quadriceps, calves & hamstrings.

An exercise progression progression to strengthen the weak vastus medialis oblique are as follows:

1. Seated with legs straight in front of you, place a rolled up towel under your knees & place your fingers on the inside of your thigh to feel the muscle contract. The knees should flatten against the towel and the heels should lift up. Hold for 3 seconds. Continue this for 10 repetitions.

2.Ball squeezes. Place a ball (soccer, small basketball or a medicine ball) between knees & contract to bring knees in toward each other. Hold for 3 seconds. Continue for 10 repetitions.

3. Heel drops. With one leg stand on a step and squat down to allow the other heel to touch the ground. Make sure hips stay parallel (don’t allow one to sag) and knee is straight (not moving in or out). Perform this exercise slowly. Continue for 10 repetitions. 

4. Lunges. Stand in a split stance and perform a lunge while making sure the VMO contracts through the whole exercise. Also make sure the knee stays behind the toes and is straight. Repeat on both legs. Continue for 10 repetitions.


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