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What is a 'Q' Angle?

Did you ever wonder why females are more prone to knee injuries during sport activities?

One factor is the Q-Angle.

What is the relationship between Q-angle and females? Women are built with bio-mechanical differences compared to men. The female hormones create a wider pelvis for childbirth, contributing to a wider Q-angle. Experts have linked a wider pelvis to a larger Q angle and consequently more injury.

On average, females measure 3 degrees more than male for Q angle.

An increased Q-angle leads to increased excessive genu valgum (knock knees) contributing to increased stress on the knee joint, as well as increased foot pronation ( flat feet).

Common knee injuries associated with an increased Q-angle include:

  • patellofemoral pain syndrome: poor tracking of the knee cap

  • chondromalacia of the knee: wear of the cartilage on the undersurface of the knee cap

  • ACL injuries: including sprains, or complete rupture

  • MCL injuries

  • It creates more force on the outside of the knee contributing to osteoarthritis.

An increased Q-angle and genu valgum ( knock knees) could be exacerbated by muscle imbalances, muscle weakness of the core/hip or lower extremity and increased foot pronation.

How to reduce your Q-angle:

  1. Strengthening hip and core muscles

  2. Improving biomechanics ( form) with squatting, jumping, and running

  3. Stretching tight muscles around the hip/knee joint

  4. Wearing proper footwear to reduce over-pronation of your feet

A physical therapist can help educate you on your Q-Angle, address prevention of injury and guide you through the appropriate exercises for strengthening, stretching and form.


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