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Author Topic: How to use my quadriceps?  (Read 996 times)

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Offline kibbles

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How to use my quadriceps?
« on: December 08, 2019, 07:05:28 AM »

hey. this is kinda awkward. i thought that i would have come back to these forums years ago to let everyone know that i got over my left knee issues and explain how i did it to help people who have the same issue. i am making this post because i need help/advice.

for those of you who want an update, i will explain. for those who don't, skip this introduction and read from the "Knee Issue" section.

around mid april 2014 i hurt my knee. about a couple of weeks after that i came here to talk about it and get help. i went to the doctor before coming here, but he didn't help. at least at the time i thought that he didn't help at all. later on i realized that he did help a little bit.
below is the first thread that i posted here.

i also made this thread if you're interested:

anyway, ever since then i've tried to accumulate all kinds of knowledge on knee injuries, leg muscles, movements, etc. i went to an acupuncturist about a few times who was way more helpful than my family doctor. the acupuncturist made me aware of issues that i have not even thought about before that. he gave me a massive amount of insight which allowed me to start a brand new expedition to acquire knowledge from the internet about my issue and how to solve my problem.

eventually i reached an answer that i was searching a long time for. the answer that i held for the longest time is that increasing the strength of the muscles around my knee, improving the flexibility and stretch of my muscles, and improving my posture would solve this problem. i worked at it diligently but i always got burnt out eventually. the reason i kept getting burnt out is because i wasn't seeing my most desired results (i saw a lot of strength improvement, but the pain in my knee never decreased completely). the longest that i have remained consistent at the gym was probably about a few months without any breaks longer than 4 days (if i remember correctly). i made it a point to hit the gym every other day during those times (cycling between upper body and lower body exercises exclusively on each day to avoid overwork).

Knee Issue:

back in 2014 when i went to my family doctor after getting an mri on my left knee all the doctor could tell me is that my knee is normal, despite the excruciating pain i was constantly experiencing. he didn't even try to help beyond interpreting the mri data.

first i should explain a little bit about movements that cause pain in my knee. the pain in my left knee is focused on various areas of the patella. the pain is always somewhere on the patella. the pain only occurs when i contract my quadriceps. however, the pain doesn't always occur during those contractions.
it depends on HOW i contract my quadriceps and how much weight the quadriceps are dealing with. i am able to extent my left leg while sitting down without causing pain in my knee, but i am also able to extend my leg in a way that will cause a bit of pain.

there were many times over the past few years that i would perform movements that would usually cause pain in my knee, but those special times there was no pain at all. those times were real, that proves that my knee is perfectly normal despite the chronic pain. otherwise i would have never experienced any times without pain.
at least the doctor was right about that.

over the past couple of years i noticed something different about my left leg and my right leg. the muscles in my left leg contract differently than the muscles in my right leg. this issue is mainly dealing with quadriceps. when i sit down on a chair and extend my left leg (the problem leg), the vastus lateralis contracts a lot more than on my right leg, and it also starts trembling. on my right leg, the muscle that is most active during extension is the vastus medialis. on my left leg when i try to shift the majority of weight from the vastus lateralis to the vastus medialis, the weight gets shifted to my vastus intermedius.
i tried quite a few times but i can't consistently shift most of the weight to my medialis. however, i noticed that when the majority of the weight shifts to my intermedius, my lateralis stops trembling.

when my leg is extended all of the way (not hyper extension), the activity of the medialis on my left leg is a lot similar to the way it is on my right leg, but there is a noticeable transition from when the intermedius is most active during the extention to when the weight shifts to the medialis when extension is complete. it doesn't feel like a natural movement as with my right leg.

to be honest, i suppose i haven't been spending as much time and effort practicing using my left quads as i should have after i discovered this problem.

clearly the reason why i have chronic pain is because of mind-muscle connection issues. muscle weakness is probably a small part of the issue. the reason why i've experienced pain free movements that should have caused pain sometimes is because of how my muscles were utilized. i just didn't notice at the time.

does anyone have advice on what i should do to solve these issues or how i should get started?

Offline kibbles

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Re: How to use my quadriceps?
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2019, 02:22:19 AM »
i started dedicating time towards readjusting the way that i use my left leg (the knee problem leg) and also taking time to actively utilize my vastus medialis. right now when i extend my leg and attempt squats, i am feeling a lot less pain, which is a fantastic sign. i think there is a bit less crackling too.

however as i stated in the OP, there have been various times throughout the years when i've performed these actions with little to no pain, but was only temporary.

i am not being pessimistic. i have high hopes this time and i am expecting permanent, positive results. i lost too much of my life to this ridiculous issue. i'll keep this thread updated as i continue to progress. if anyone has any advice, feel free to share.

Offline Froglet

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Re: How to use my quadriceps?
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2019, 01:39:48 PM »
Hey Kibbles,

This post popped in front of me at about the right time.  I have literally just left yet another physio appointment in tears due to utter frustration that my quad muscles are JUST NOT RESPONDING! I had a ski fall back in February and since then have had a very long 9 months of vicious circle of exercise...swelling, fluid and, fluid,, fluid and stiffness. I have now had around 50 physio sessions, two MRIs, both with different conclusions, the most recent showing stage 2-3 chondromalacia.

My physio thinks drastic action is in order which is upsetting me further. It's not that I'm not trying! She also wants me to start doing squats which the doc said categorically NOT to do if you have cartilage softening/degeneration.  I am so sick of not knowing who to losten to and who to trust and, like you, am heading to thw internet to try and educate myself better on what is happening and what I can do.  I'd be very interested in hearing how things go.