National Associaltion of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists - Symptom Checker

Vastus Lateralis
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This is the technical name of the muscle being described.  This name may be used to find additional information in any medical resource. Vastus Lateralis
A group of muscles generally denotes muscles of the same function and may share a common attachment point. Quadriceps (Quads)
Muscle function, in this definition, is what the muscle could do if it was to contract by itself with the body in anatomical position.  This is a general definition of muscle function.  For more information on how muscles work together on the body please refer to a physiology or functional anatomy text.

Extension of the leg at the knee.

A description of where a Myofascial Trigger Point may produce pain in the body.  This area is generally located away from the trigger point.

Pain may be felt over the full length of the lateral anterior (outside and front) thigh as well as behind the knee.  Pain is also sometimes reported to feel like explosions up and down the thigh.

A description of the symptoms a person may experience with trigger points in the muscle being described.

A person with TrPs in the lateralis may have a stuck patella with pain that wraps up and around the lateral border of the patella and even up the thigh.  TrPs in this muscle also make it painful to lie on the affected side and if done so, will disturb sleep.


 A list of possible diseases that fit the information derived from examination of a patient.

  1. Torn meniscus, tendonitis, and bursitis.
  2. Quadriceps tendonitis.
  3. Entrapment of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.
  4. Iliotibial tract friction syndrome.
  5. Chondromalacia patellae – more common in runners.
  6. Patellofemoral dysfunction

A list of activities or positions that may either CAUSE a trigger point to manifest or PROLONG a pain condition respectively.

  1. Sudden eccentric contraction such as stepping into a hole, stepping off a curb, or stumbling.
  2. Exercising such as deep knee bends.
  3. Immobilization of the knee from a cast or brace can activate TrPs and cause a pain complaint after the device is removed.
  4. Direct trauma to the muscle as the result of a fall sideways and striking the muscle on a piece of furniture.
  5. Sitting with the knee fully extended. 

A corrective action is usually a modification of daily routine which will reduce stress on the affected muscle(s) in a person with myofascial trigger points.

  1. Avoid overload by learning to correctly pick up heavy objects from the floor which will spare the quadriceps as well as the paraspinals (back muscles).
  2. Deep knee bends and full squats should be prohibited as so not to overload the quadriceps.  A partial squat, however, is relatively safe if the thigh does not drop lower than the horizontal position, which would be parallel to the floor.
  3. Correct Morton foot structure.
  4. A tennis ball may be used by a person to treat their TrPs  by laying on the side and placing the tennis ball between the outer thigh and the surface of the bed/floor.

References : 
Simons DG, Travell JG, Simons LS, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, vol 1, 2nd Ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1999.

Travell JG, Simons DG, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, vol 2. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1992.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.  A proper diagnosis should be sought from a licensed health care provider.