Because SYSSM is a sports clinic, we often see injuries that are common among athletes, but relatively rare in the general public. Vastus medialis (sometimes called VMO) tears are the perfect example of this.
Vastus medialis is the smallest of the four quadriceps muscle, and sits on the inside of the leg, just above the knee. Most people have little or no muscle tone in VMO, but in sports where quadriceps strength is paramount (soccer, cycling, high jump, etc.) it can be very tight – tight enough to spasm, become inflamed, or even tear under strain.
To avoid vastus medialis tears, you have to release the muscle regularly. Whether that’s by way of massage or needling does not matter for smaller, superficial muscles like VMO, but a regular release by a qualified clinician is necessary.
Between professional visit, though, self-care is paramount. Standard quadriceps stretching will help a little, self-massage will help a little, but I find that foam rolling yields the best results. To foam roll vastus medialis, lie in a plank position with your knee and hip at 45° angles with the foam roller over the most painful part of the muscle. Put as much of your bodyweight through the roller as you can handle, and roll slowly over the full length of the muscle ten times.
If you do tear vastus medialis, however, foam rolling will not help. It is important to get a diagnosis from a physio or sports physician, with the aid of an MRI, and then seek clinical treatment. The type of clinical treatment will depend on the severity of the tear.
For mild tears, heat therapy and needling can work very well this is something we do at the clinic relatively regularly. For more severe tears, an exercise rehabilitation program will be necessary, and surgery may be required for very serious tears. At SYSSM, we are always happy to advise on what approach/es will suit you best, and refer you on if necessary.
For more information on plantar fasciitis, email me directly via the contact page. For specific information on an injury you have, or for treatment, contact one of my clinics directly. You can find that information here.
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Dr Mitch Clark