+Donna Martin
Dec 272012

What pain and symptoms are associated with the vastus intermedius muscle ?

Pain pattern of quadriceps muscle vastus intermedius

Pain down the front thigh and buckling weak knees indicate vastus intermedius dysfunction.


  • Pain down the middle of the front of the thigh
  • Contributes to weak buckling knees
  • Pain increases climbing stairs
  • Problems standing from a sitting position
  • Stiffness in the knee causes a limp

Where is the vastus intermedius muscle?

The vastus intermedius muscle attaches to the thigh bone just under the hip joint and extends down the front of the thigh to connect into the knee and lower leg. The vastus intermedius is one of four quadricep muscles.

What movements does the vastus intermedius muscle control?

  • Straightens the leg at the knee

Activities that cause vastus intermedius pain and symptoms:

  • Climbing
  • Running
  • Over use of the knee
  • Sitting for long periods of time

Interesting facts about the vastus intermedius:

The vastus intermedius lies directly under the rectus femoris but each muscle has its own pain pattern. The vastus intermedius pain is deep and midthigh while the rectus femoris pain is low and extends into the knee.

Vastus Intermedius

You use the vastus intermedius muscle to straighten the knee.


Clinical diagnoses to which this muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Subluxation / dislocation of the knee
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament sprain or tear
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament sprain or tear
  • Torn meniscus
  • Patella femoral dysfunction
  • Sprain / Strain of the thigh
  • Sprain or strain of the knee
  • Iliotibial tract friction syndrome
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Phantom leg pain with above knee amputation,

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the Vastus Intermedius muscle:

Satellite Trigger Points: Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis

Affected Organ Systems: Digestive System

For detailed anatomy information see: Vastus Intermedius Anatomy

Help with Vastus Intermedius Quadriceps Muscle Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.

Warm Therapy Gel for Quadriceps Muscle Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. Unlike other over the counter heating creams, it provides warmth without burning heat.  Applying Sombra to the muscles down the front of the thigh and down into the knee can help reduce pain and tightness caused by the quadriceps muscles. I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and chronically sore tight muscles.

Cold Therapy Gel For Vastus Intermedius Quadriceps Injury and Pain

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel and I recommend it for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries.  It is better than warm therapy gels and creams for recent injury muscle pain as it cools the area much like ice and does not promote swelling. If  your pain is from a recently pulled quad muscle I would recommend Biofreeze. Rub down the front of the thigh 2-3 times a day for pain relief.

Cold And Warm Pack For Quadricps Muscles

Thigh or Quad Ice Wrap by Active Wrap 
The  Thigh or Quad Ice Wrap by Active Wrap can be used for warm or cold therapy. I like this pack because it can be adjusted and can be worn while you are up and moving. If you have chronically tight muscles in the front of the thigh I suggest using this for heat. However, if the pain is caused from a recent injury I always recommend cold for 20 minutes several times a day.  Remember if you are using cold therapy to only apply for 20 minutes per hour to avoid tissue damage.


Braces and Supports To Help Quadriceps Injury and Pain


McDavid Neoprene Deluxe Thigh Support covers the thigh and can be used for either hamstring or quadriceps support and rehabilitation. Provides great compression and warmth to help maintain muscle mobility and reduce pain. Sizing: SM 18 to 20 inches, Med 20 to 22 inches,  LG  22 to 25 inches, XL  25 to 28 inches.


McDavid Groin Wrap is recommended for high quad and groin pulls. This strap works a great for people who have pulled a quadriceps muscle who are experiencing knee pain and weakness and need a knee support. The strap in addition to the knee brace gives support along the length of the muscle. The strap has an adjustable Velcro closure so you can adjust the pressure as needed.

Professional’s Choice Miracle Knee Support

The quadriceps can contribute to stiff, buckling and painful knees. The Professional Choice Knee Support is one of the best knee braces I have used. It provides support to weak buckling knees and provides heat to help keep the muscle, ligaments, tendons and joint mobile. The two Velcro bands are adjustable and provide compression for the muscle to bone connection of the quadriceps muscles in the lower leg.  Although it looks bulky, it is comfortable and was designed for people who need support but must be able to bend and straighten the knee without binding or pinching. If you are prone to knee pain and buckling knees I highly recommend this brace. Purchase Information:  Professional’s Choice Miracle Knee Support


Massage Tools for Self Treatment of the Quadriceps Muscles

I recommend the Tiger Tail 18″ Roller to use on both upper and lower leg muscles to help relieve tension and pain. I like the Tiger Tail for its ease of use and because it does not strain the wrists and hands. You do not have to contort into different positions or get on the floor or up against the wall to use this foam roller, simply roll it up or down the muscle. The 18″ is a good size to use on leg muscles as well as other muscles. The Tiger Tail is also recommended by physical therapists, athletic trainers and doctors for self treatment of muscles in between appointments. To use the Tiger Tail on the quadriceps muscles start just below the hip, and roll down the top of the knee. Cover the entire front of the thigh including just to the inside and outside of the thigh. Start with light strokes for a minute or two and build into more pressure and more time. Do not overdo as you can irritate the muscles!

Find and Treat The Source Of Vastus Intermedius Pain

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.Do you know that small knots in the vastus intermedius muscle can contribute to pain in the front of the thigh and stiff buckling knees? If this sounds familiar  I  recommend that you purchase Claire Davies  The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language.  But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain,  how to find the trigger point and treat it. He also provides stretching and strengthening exercises for each muscle.  It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body.  If you have pain in the front of the thigh and weak buckling knees it maybe trigger points in the vastus intermedius muscle. Deactivating trigger points can help solve this problem. This book is a must have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.


 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>