Quad spasm/tightness help...

My left Vastus Lat. has been super tight the past 5 days. First felt pain on the superior/lateral aspect of my patella when squatting about 5 days ago. Felt fine as soon as i took the weight off my back and all bodyweight stuff felt just fine. Had a notion that it was the vast. lateralis so i checked it out and found some knots. Was able to work some out the next few days but it is still tight and i have a very tender spot in the muscle belly about 4 inches up from the knee. Can definitely feel a big knot in this area. Has been there a few days. I tried some foam roll and did some deep tissue myself but it doesn’t want to go away. Worst of all, because it is the Vastus Lat., it is causing my patella to track laterally and slight irritation. This is putting a huge cramp (no pun intended) on my training. I don’t have ready access to a massage therapist and the trainers i am around suck. Need some help here. Any ideas???

Sounds like your IT band is tight. Try loosening the tensor fascia latae. Most tightness in the legs originate in the hips.

Thats a good guess, but it’s not the IT band. I’ve done TFL release and IT band work the past week and…nothing. TFL and IT are normally fine, never really that tight. It’s in the Vastus, trust me, i can feel the knot and tenderness.

How about the adductors? The vastus lateralus might be trying to balance out tension being exerted by tightness in the inner thigh. If not, you might want to work the inner line anyway, since it will probably try to balance against the vatus lat.

I’m just spit balling here.

asbury, what’s the depth of the squats? Quarter squats, great toe turn-out, wide stance may contrbute to tight VL and ITB. Most likely this was a problem that originated weeks or months ago and this was the final straw.

Foam roller may not be “aggressive” enough. Try a 4" PVC pipe 18" or so. If that is too hard, wrap and tape a towel around it and roll on that. How where you rolling on the foam roller? What position was your body in?

How is the quad and ITB length?

Squats are parallel or below, stance just outside shoulder width with toes pointed foreward. I’m going to see a massage therapist tomm. to see what they can work out. This has been a bitch. Just can’t seem to loosen the muscle. I usually use PVC to roll out my legs, but even the foam roller will hurt like hell when i roll out my vastus lat. Can’t seem to figure out how this popped up either. Been searching for imbalances or tight antagonist muscles, but can’t find anything. This is a weird one and has really put a dent in my training. hopefully the massage therapist can figure out what is going on.

Have you consulted with a chiropractor or osteopath?

Not yet. Got some massage work done this morning. Helped a little i guess, the therapist didn’t really work too deep. I should be going to see a chiro this week for an eval. Ya think some ART might help?

asbury, with the lateral tracking of the patella is there also a atrophy of the vastus medialisa? Any patella femoral pain or history of knee injury. Sometimes things spasm or tighten up to prevent further injury.

Since the problem ahs only been about 2 weeks, there is no atrophy of the VMO. The condition is, however, getting better. Pain is much less, knee feeling better and Vast Lat is feeling ok. To answer your other question, i have had a tracking prob in this knee before. About a year an a half ago, but got rid of it after about 3 months and has been ok since.

I started hearing a cracking noise about a few years back. This noise kept on getting worse and worse throughout the years, finally after losing a lot of weight and doing cardio twice a day, my knee was just to painful to do lunge. I went to many different physiotherapists and they all sucked until I met a woman who was the physiotherapist for the Canadian Olympic rugby team. She explained to me that the reason I was hearing that noise every time I would flex my knees past parallel was that my patella (knee) was grinding against my knee cap and wasn’t going in its proper alignment. She said that my legs were really tight on both sides and especially on my I-band (side of leg). She said that my inner muscle/s of my quad shut down to protect my legs from getting worse by the contracting of my outside quads. So when I contracted my knee my kneecap would veer off to the outside of my leg.

The recipe for recovery was to quit any lifting immediately and work on stretching for a couple of weeks. The stretches I did were the figure 4 stretch were your lying on your back and with one foot against the wall at a 90 degree angle and the other foot crossed below your knee towards your waist and the other stretch was the I-band stretch with you placing one foot in front of the other with both feet about shoulder width apart and most of the weight on the back leg with some on the front for balance and then you bend towards the back leg side. She would then have me come in throughout the week and do one legged squats with a biofeedback machine so that my brain could relearn how to use my muscle properly, afterwards she would have me sit on the doctors bed and partially contract my leg (each leg one at a time) to full extension while do electro stim. This is how my body learned how to restart the inside muscles of my quad.

Also do stretching for a couple of weeks, then continue stretching and start one-leg squatting to a comfortable degree, then couple of weeks later do full squats, then slowly add weight (i.e. if your max is 335lbs then start by doing the bar at 10-30 reps and then add 10 pounds every week till about 4 months, then you can do your regular lifting but start out on the safe side. Always do stretching throughout the rehab process. Stretch for 1 minute on and 1 minute of for a total of 3 times per day. Also use anti-flam cream on your knee after each weigthlifting session or whenever your knee gets irritated and if it does get irritated the stop doing the thing that irritated it.

These are just general guidelines, know the root cause of your injury first before rehabing it; otherwise you will be wasting your time!

I could not to do a lunge in January, now I’m squatting 335lbs, lunging 180lbs with dumbells, feel no pain while doing the exercises and rarely feel pain at any othertime.

Your toes pointed forward could be the culprit because it may not allow your knees to track properly while your doing the squat.