The Q-angle and Pilates

child_knee_jumpers_causes021Have you ever wondered why some people can run marathon after marathon without knee pain, while others attempt to begin an exercise fitness program of running which inevitably sidelines them for weeks, even months with a knee injury? Well, the culprit may very well be a large Q angle, or, very simply, the angle at which the femur (the thigh bone) meets the tibia (the shin bone). If you’re having a hard time visualizing these concepts, stand in front of a mirror and notice where your hip bone is in relation to your knee cap. Most marathon runners, even females, have VERY narrow hips. Their hip bones and knee caps are close to vertical alignment. This would be a Q angle of no more than 5-6 degrees.

Most of us women have hips that are wider than that. Dr. Elizabeth Quinn wrote about the Q-angle for “On average this [the Q] angle is degrees greater in women than in men. It is thought that this increased angle places more stress on the knee joint, as well as leading to increased foot pronation in women. While there may be other factors that lead to increase risk of injury in women athletes (strength, skill, hormones, etc..), an increased Q-angle has been linked to: patellofemoral pain syndrome, chondromalaycia, and ACL injuries.” While we HIGHLY recommend that you read the whole article (it’s fantastic), we would like to share how to incorporate the knowledge of the Q angle into your Pilates exercise and fitness routine.

Pilates, even mat Pilates is EXCELLENT for strengthening the muscles around the knee, which will help prevent injury. On top of that, Pilates exercises are impact-free: your knee is not overloaded with extra weight, surging through your joint at an oblique (non-vertical) angle. BUT, to get the most out of Pilates you must focus on the star muscle of the knee, the vastus medialis. We wrote alot about the vastus medialis in our “Straighten your Knees, Please!“, blog, but it really cannot be stressed enough. As we know the main question will be which exercises you should do, we’ve composed a list of exercises involving mat exercises with small equipment, as well as Pilates equipment exercises, to follow on Monday. Stay tuned!


April 24, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Pilates on Fifth Postings, Pilates Posts, The Pilates Center of New York Postings, Postings.

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