If there is one thing that being a physical therapist has taught me, it's that being a stronger human typically means less pain and injury. Knee pain is no exception. One of the first rehab targets after an ACL repair or total knee replacement is the strength and function of the quad muscle located on the front of the thigh.
First, as a quick aside and fun fact, the quadricep (quad = referring to a 4 part muscle) muscle was (somewhat) recently discovered to rather be a pentacep (pent = 5). The tensor vastus intermedius muscle has been documented as the "fifth" quad muscle in cadaver studies. This seems to have more to do with the classification of muscles and anatomists arguing as to where to draw the line versus actually having a functional implication, but is interesting nonetheless.
Importantly, the quadricep muscle group is a large, powerful muscle designed to extend (straighten) the knee and to control the rate of knee flexion (bending) during walking. Ever had a feeling that your knee was going to buckle? This is often related to either weakness or fatigue of the quads and can be a concern when walking for the first time after any knee surgery.
Check out the videos below for some of my favorite exercises to target the quads:
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