Vastus Medialis

Original Editor - Evan Thomas

Top Contributors - George Prudden, Evan Thomas, Kim Jackson, Abbey Wright and Lucinda hampton


Vastus medialis is one of the four muscles that make up the quadriceps group of muscles. It originates from the upper part of the femoral shaft and inserts as a flattened tendon into the quadriceps femoris tendon, which inserts into the upper border of the patella.[1]


Lower part of the intertrochanteric line, along the spiral line to the medial lip of the linea aspera, the medial intermuscular septum and the aponeurosis of adductor magnus.[1]


Into the medial side of the quadriceps tendon, joining with rectus femoris and the other quadriceps muscles, enveloping the patella, then by the patellar ligament into the tibial tuberosity.[1]


A branch from the posterior division of the femoral nerve, derived from L2, 3 and 4.[1]


Femoral artery and branches from the profunda femoris artery.[1]


Vastus medialis, together with the other muscles that make up quadriceps femoris, extends the knee joint.[1]

Clinical relevance

Weakness of the vastus medials is associated with patellar maltracking and patellofemoral pain. An approach to treatment attempts to restore balance between vastus medialis and lateralis, which requires strengthening of the oblique fibres of medialis, as well as assessment of the degree of dynamic supination and pronation of the foot.[2][1]

VMO strengthening has become less popular approach to the treatment of anterior knee pain as the evidence supporting isolated exercises has been criticised for its poor quality.[3][4][5][6] Furthermore researchers doubt the existence of VMO[7] and have found that any quadricep exercise will similarly activate the vastus muscles.[8] Strengthening further up the kinetic chain has been suggested as more effective approach, Khayambashi et al. found that hip strengthening was more effective for improving patellofemoral pain than knee strengthening.[9]



It can be palpated along its entire length. Distally, the quadriceps tendon can be palpated attaching to the proximal border (base) of the patella.




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 | 3D Human Anatomy | Primal Pictures [Internet]. 2018 [cited 16 March 2018]. Available from:
  2. Werner S. Anterior knee pain: an update of physical therapy. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy. 2014 Oct 1;22(10):2286-94.
  3. Crossley K, Bennell K, Green S, McConnell J. A systematic review of physical interventions for patellofemoral pain syndrome. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. 2001 Apr 1;11(2):103-10.
  4. Heintjes EM, Berger MY, Bierma-Zeinstra SM, Bernsen RM, Verhaar JA, Koes BW. Exercise therapy for patellofemoral pain syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003 Jan 1;4.
  5. Rodriguez-Merchan EC. Evidence based conservative management of patello-femoral syndrome. Archives of Bone and Joint Surgery. 2014 Mar;2(1):4.
  6. Seeley MK, Park J, King D, Hopkins JT. A novel experimental knee-pain model affects perceived pain and movement biomechanics. Journal of athletic training. 2013 May;48(3):337-45.
  7. Smith TO, Nichols R, Harle D, Donell ST. Do the vastus medialis obliquus and vastus medialis longus really exist? A systematic review. Clinical anatomy. 2009 Mar 1;22(2):183-99.
  8. Smith TO, Bowyer D, Dixon J, Stephenson R, Chester R, Donell ST. Can vastus medialis oblique be preferentially activated? A systematic review of electromyographic studies. Physiotherapy theory and practice. 2009 Jan 1;25(2):69-98.
  9. Khayambashi K, Fallah A, Movahedi A, Bagwell J, Powers C. Posterolateral hip muscle strengthening versus quadriceps strengthening for patellofemoral pain: a comparative control trial. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation. 2014 May 1;95(5):900-7.