Beware of valgus knees! During a squat/walk/lunge, watch your knees to ensure they don’t cave in as this is dangerous to the knee joint and the parts that make it up such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Valgus knees can lead to patellofemoral (knee) pain, ACL tears, and iliotibial band (IT band) syndrome. Now keep in mind that women are more prone to experiencing knee valgus due to their increased q-angles (angle from the hips to the knee cap). The reason the women tend to have a larger q-angle is for birthing purposes.
Now what exactly causes valgus knees?:
1. Weak hips: Work on strengthening the gluteus muscle group and external hip rotators. Try glute bridges to build the muscle group because this is a simple yet effect exercise that can be done anywhere!
2. Tight ankles: Stretch your calves and hamstrings to help loosen the ankle. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) standards for stretching advise 15-30 second holds for 2-3 sets.
3. Weak quadriceps: Focus on strengthening the vastus medialis muscle which will aid in stabilization of the knee. Try doing leg extensions, focusing on the last 20% of the contractions which will focus on the vastus medialis
4. Weak hamstrings: Focus on strengthening the hamstrings through prone leg curls or Romanian deadlifts. If you are working out from home, try isolated hamstring contractions/holds.
The trainers here at Full Scale Fitness understand the severe complications that can arise with improper exercise form and we take our time to educate our clients. If you know that you suffer from valgus (or varus) knees, contact us and we would love to develop a program for you! If you live in Akron, Cleveland, Canton or the surrounding area in northeast Ohio, we can provide in-home personal trainers that will work with you to fix the issue. For those of you too far to be trained in person, we can provide our online personal training programs in lieu!
If you have a question on this article or a suggestion for future articles, please contact us at [email protected]!