The Q angle is the angle that the Quadricep muscles pull in relation to the angle of knee movement.
A high Q angle often results in maltracking of the patella, that is it does not travel over the front of the knee joint as it should. Over time, this can cause microtrauma to the cartilage on the rear of the patella which causes pain, often known as anterior knee pain, patellofemoral pain or chondromalacia patella.
A Q angle causing concern is measured as follows:
males: Q angle = 14 deg (+/- 3)
females: Q angle = 17 deg (+/- 3)
There is no manipulation or adjustment (such as you might receive at a chiropractor) to reduce Q angle. Correct biomechanics must be achieved through a rehabilitation program which focuses on restoring flexibility to tight muscles (commonly calves, hamstrings and quadriceps). Weaker muscles must also be strengthened. It is common that the Vastus medialis muscles, known as VMO (vastus medialis oblique), are weak. These fibres also play an important role in controlling the stability and positioning of the patella and so strength and timing of contractions should be restored. This can be achieved by placing a rolled up towel under the knee (while seated), so that it is slightly flexed. While palpating the VMO, push the knee down into the towel so that it straightens and the heel rises from the floor. You should feel the muscle fibres under your fingers contract. Once this is mastered, half squats against a wall or fit-ball can be introduced, still maintaining contraction of the VMO.
So – a high Q angle means that you need to
1. Keep Calves supple.
2. Keep Hamstrings well stretched
3. Keep Quads stretched.
4. Keep your Quads strong, especially the Vastus Medialis.
5. Stretch your iliotibial band regularly.
6. Avoid bending your knee past the 90 degree mark when exercising.
7. Choose a running shoe that stops you from pronating while walking and running.
You can book an appointment at SBR Sport to get your Q angle accurately measured.