Research Review: Exercise to Reduce Knee Valgus in Squat

By Jinny McGivern, DPT, Certified Yoga Instructor

Edited by Brent Brookbush, DPT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Original Citation: Bell, D. R., Oates, D. C., Clark, M. A., & Padua, D. A. (2013). Two-and 3-dimensional knee valgus are reduced after an exercise intervention in young adults with demonstrable valgus during squatting. Journal of athletic training,48(4), 442-449. ABSTRACT

Note the blocks under the heels on the right. Indicating much of this dysfunction stems from dorsiflexion restriction. - Source: Bell et. al. 2008 - http://www.somastruct.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/kneevalgussquat-600x346.jpg Note the blocks under the heels on the right. Indicating much of this dysfunction stems from dorsiflexion restriction. - Source: Bell et. al. 2008 - http://www.somastruct.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/kneevalgussquat-600x346.jpg

Why is this relevant?:

The double leg squat is a common field test used to identify those with potential lower extremity movement dysfunction and potential predisposition to injury, as medial knee displacement (MKD) has been associated with non-contact ACL injuries. This research provides a specific “prescription” for exercise to reduce MKD during a double leg squat; theoretically reducing one’s risk for non-contact ACL injury. It empowers the human movement professional to use exercise to correct a maladaptive movement pattern

Study Summary

Study Design Randomized Controlled Trial
Level of Evidence 2b - Randomized Control Trial with Small Sample Size
Subject Demographics

  • Age: Intervention group (INT) = 20.9 yrs +/- 2.6; Control group (CON) = 20.4 yrs. +/- 2.9.
  • Gender: INT = 15 female/1 male; CON = 14 female/2 male
  • Characteristics: Healthy & uninjured (no musculoskeletal injury within the previous 6 months). Both groups consisted of individuals with observable medial knee displacement (mid point of patella medial to great toe) occurring in 3/5 squats which was corrected