Inside knee pain is not always your meniscus! Sometimes tight quads are the cause of knee pain.
The weather is warming up and you think, hey, I will go for a run! About halfway through the run, your inside of your knee starts to bother you, so you google “medial knee pain.” What pops up? Medial meniscus, MCL (medial collateral ligament). Your mind goes flying off the rail – oh god, now I need surgery?!?
Take a deep breath. First off, not all meniscus / MCL tears need surgery. Second, most likely, that is not what you injured. It could just be as simple as some quad tightness.
Your quadriceps muscle group is made up of 4 muscles that attach to your patella (kneecap) and your tibia bone in your lower leg through two tendons – quadriceps tendon and patellar tendon.
If one of the quad muscles on the inside of the thigh is too tight, it can pull the patella medially toward the inside of your knee and cause pain because the patella is not “tracking” properly – it’s not sitting in the groove right and rubs the bones and tendons the wrong way. The same can happen on the outside of the knee if the quad muscles on the outside of the thigh is too tight.
What can you do to help keep the right length in the quad which in turn helps the patella track correctly?
Stretching your quads can be very effective. There are several quad stretches out there. Here are my 3 favorite, depending on where I am:
I prefer to do a standing quad stretch if I’m out, whether I’m at work or waiting in line at the grocery store.
If I’m at home, I prefer to do a quad stretch lying down on my belly. To do the stretch:
If I’m at the gym , I prefer to stretch from a kneeling position. To do this stretch:
Always stretch both sides to make sure you’re keeping yourself even.
Sometimes you need further help to loosen up the quad with ball releases, instrument assisted releases (Graston), deep tissue mobilization, etc, which is best done by a physical therapist with manual training. Click here to schedule a complimentary phone consultation to talk to one of our therapists.
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