VMO is an abbreviation of 'vastus medialis obliquus', which is a part of the quadriceps (quads) muscle.

Page updated November 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

VMO - vastus medialis obliquus

The quadriceps muscle group, showing the VMO.


Anatomy of the vastus medialis muscle

The quadriceps muscle is so-named because it has 'four heads'. Although they come together and unite into a single quadriceps tendon at the patella, the vastus medialis seems to be more independent than the rest of the group.

  • Quote from peer-reviewed paper:

    "VMO is a distinct muscle within the quadriceps femoris group...The findings of this study indicate that VMO is sufficient to rotate the medial condyle of femur internally and the muscle could act independently."

    Citation: Sawy MME, Mikkawy DMEE, El-Sayed SM, Desouky AM. Morphometric analysis of vastus medialis oblique muscle and its influence on anterior knee pain. Anat Cell Biol. 2021 Mar 31;54(1):1-9. doi: 10.5115/acb.20.258. PMID: 33262319; PMCID: PMC8017455.

  • Quote from peer-reviewed paper:

    "The oblique fibers of the vastus medialis (VM) are not only attached to the medial border of the patella, but they also have a small region of direct continuity with the patellar tendon."

    Citation: Toumi H, Poumarat G, Benjamin M, Best TM, F'Guyer S, Fairclough J. New insights into the function of the vastus medialis with clinical implications. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Jul;39(7):1153-9. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0b013e31804ec08d. Erratum in: Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 May;40(5):982. Best, Thomas [corrected to Best, Thomas M]. PMID: 17596784.

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The importance of the VMO in knee rehabilitation

The VMO is the muscle that gives a lot of problem when it comes to rehabilitation of the knee after injury or surgery. The reason for this is that the muscle fibres very readily become inhibited, and struggle to 'fire' when the patient tries to straighten the leg.

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Forum discussions

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Peer-reviewed papers

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vastus medialis obliquus

Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...