Muscle strength in knee varus and valgus

L. Q. Zhang*, D. Xu, G. Wang, R. W. Hendrix

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the lower-limb muscle strength in knee varus-valgus and its dependence on knee varus-valgus position. The hypothesis was that humans could differentially contract the medial and lateral muscles crossing the knee and generate significant moments in knee valgus-varus. Methods: The subjects sat with the knee at full extension and secured from the medial, lateral, anterior, and posterior sides. Both hips were clamped from the lateral sides. The subjects adducted (abducted) the ipsilateral hip during the knee valgus (varus) maximal voluntary contraction with EMG signals recorded from muscles crossing the knee and knee joint moments measured using a six-axis force sensor. Frontal plane tibiofemoral movement was evaluated using a fluoroscope. Results and Conclusions: The subjects differentially contracted the medial and lateral muscles, and fluoroscope images showed the corresponding tibiofemoral movement. The subjects showed considerable strength in knee varus and valgus. The active knee varus strength increased significantly with increasing knee valgus angle, and the valgus strength was significantly higher when the knee was in varus position (P < 0.039). Active valgus muscle strength at 5° knee varus was significantly higher than the active varus strength at 5° valgus (P = 0.002). The passive resistance moment increased linearly with increasing knee valgus and varus angles, and it accounted for 28% and 35% of the total (active plus passive) moment at the 5° varus and 5° valgus. respectively. The significant varus-valgus muscle strength demonstrated in this study may play important roles in performing various functional tasks, maintaining joint stability, and preventing potential injuries, whether the major load and motion at the knee is in the frontal plane or not.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1194-1199
Number of pages6
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001


  • Abduction
  • Adduction
  • Frontal Pane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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