Question on strengthening VMO by exercises

I’m looking for some exercises that can strengthen my VMO, and I’m hoping you can help me out. I already lift weights,vertical jump training, and it was actually during squats that I noticed I was heavily favoring my left side.

I went to the physical therapist, and had some things assigned…I’ve been doing them, and reduced the *GRIND-CRACKLE-POP* to just a *GRIND-CRACKLE*, but I still can’t bend my leg without pain (or without wrapping it, which I do so I can play ball). Its been over a month, and I’m really not seeing the kind of improvement I’m used to seeing with working out for a month. Am I not seeing the gains because of limited range of motion? Is it really going to take a long time to get the VMO strong again? Can you recommend something a little more strenuous than “side leg lifts” (for lack of a better description) or simple contraction?

Sometimes vastus medialis obliquus (VMO) rehabilitation can be confusing because there is so much debate on what does or does not isolate the muscle. The VMO is a medial stabilizer of the patella, so therefore it competes with the much larger vastus lateralis and IT band, which are lateral stabilizers of the patella. The patella links the lower limb with the upper limb, so dysfunction may be caused from either direction. Over pronation of the foot (flat feet) may cause the knee to internally rotate. Anterior tilting of the pelvis causes the femur bone to rotate inward also, causing the same problem. Both situations cause overload to the gluteus medius and VMO. These muscles become overworked and eventually hyper contract and basically shut down. The IT band and vastus lateralis will then pull the patella laterally, altering the movement of the patella in the groove in the knee called the trochlea. With this in mind, the major goal in rehabilitating the knee should not only focus on the VMO, but the glute medius and proper muscle balance in the hip and foot as well. Sometimes orthotics can help tremendously, but remember that this will not correct the muscle imbalances. Check out my muscle imbalance article serious in the archive section. Correcting muscle imbalances will be the first step to improve your situation. Quick fixes will not keep you healthy in the long run.