VMO spotting has become my latest hobby. My non-functioning vastus medialis oblique, the inner quad muscle that has been causing all my grief, has given me a keen eye to spot well-developed and functioning VMOs. When ever I see a particularly rippling specimen, I swat who ever is next to me and point it out in sheer admiration (okay, maybe more in jealousy). The problem? Usually it’s me getting spotted but for all the wrong reasons.
It’s hard to hide all my strapping in 35 degree summer heat. Training and living in anything longer than shorts is suicide so my strapping, in all it’s glory, is in plain sight for anyone to see. Knee surgery? Car accident? Racing crash? Did I fall off a cliff? If I had a penny for every time someone asked what was wrong with me, I’d be able to buy a new set of legs.
The whole problem isn’t really the asking, however, it’s that the explanation is actually pretty boring. When I tell people it’s all from muscle imbalance and that my VMOs don’t work they seem particularly underwhelmed and unimpressed. The amount of strapping apparently doesn’t match up to the wimpy explanation that nothing major really happened and my VMOs just kinda eased into malfunction. In an effort to lessen disappointment, I explain how when the VMO doesn’t do it’s job to stabilize the patella, my knee cap gets pulled out of joint. “It can be quite painful,” I finish with but usually people are still dissatisfied. They obviously haven’t been stranded 5km into a 10km run with patella femoral syndrome, hobbling around in pain desperately looking for cell coverage to call for a lift home, but whatever.
What’s all the strapping for then? Well, the pink kinesiology tape offers support to my VMOs to help them do their job of stabilizing my knee. The three layers of white strapping manually place my knee cap toward where it is supposed to be so that it isn’t pulled out place every time I take a step. The fishnet stockings? Not for good looks but the elastic mesh helps keep all the strapping on, especially while I’m training in the heat.
I’m hoping after another month of rehab that I will be able to ditch the billboard that is my strapping but I have a sneaky feeling the accompanying sun of the 35 degree heat will leave it’s mark in the form of some interesting tan lines.