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The vastus medialis muscles are part of the group that forms the teardrop section surrounding your kneecap. This muscle works with numerous other muscles to protect the knee, as well as to provide different types of movement and activity. If a problem occurs with your vastus medialis muscles, you might experience limited range of motion, pain, popping noises or weakened muscle contractions. It is possible to strengthen this muscle so that your chance of knee injuries is lessened and to make your knee function better overall.
Lie on your back on an exercise mat. Wrap a towel around your foot, holding the ends with both hands. Use the towel to gently pull your leg up into the air as far as you can, keeping your leg as straight as possible. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, switch legs, and repeat. This will stretch your vastus medialis muscles, as well as the other muscles in your leg, and prepare your body for further exercises.
Stand up and go to the nearest staircase, or use a freestanding step. Step up onto the stair with one foot, making sure that your entire foot goes onto the step. Step down and repeat with the other foot. Begin by doing 25 step-ups at a time. As you progress, you can increase the amount of steps that you take with each foot.
Lunge each leg by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a step forward with one of your legs. Bend your knee to a 90-degree angle, but do not allow your knee to extend past your foot. Place your hands in a comfortable position in the air, on your hips, or straight out in front of you. Hold for a few seconds, return to a standing position, and repeat with your other leg.
Sit on a chair with your back straight and both feet touching the floor. Roll up your towel and place it under one knee. Use your vastus medialis muscles to push the towel down toward the chair as far as it will go. This contracts the muscles, and can show you how strong they are, as well as whether or not they need exercise. Repeat 10 times with each leg.
Avoid using machines at the gym that focus on your leg muscles. Many of these machines can place pressure on your knees and actually injure them further. Squats, lunges, yoga and Pilates are much better strength-training exercises for the knees than the exercise equipment at the gym, at least until they are fully strengthened and able to handle the weight.
- Evaluate the extent of your knee function or injury by visiting a physician or physical therapist, especially if you are experiencing pain. Every knee injury is different, and it is possible that you will be prescribed exercises to help your specific knee problem.