Valgus Knees: What, Why, and Fixes

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by RYAN PYE|CF Level 1 & NSCA CSCS

If you are a field sport athlete, a CrossFit athlete, or a mom trying to step up your leg game, this blog post is for you. If you aren’t one of those things, this blog post still might be for you. And if you don’t squat at all, why are you reading this blog?

What are valgus knees?

Here are 3 shots of a valgus knee (or knees). Thanks to Bret Contreras for the image (www.bretcontreras.com).

Valgus: Basically that means your hip turns in and your knee also turns in.
First we start with the “What?” The picture above should explain what “valgus” means. In science-y terms, it is the combination of hip adduction and knee internal rotation. Basically that means your hip turns in and your knee also turns in. This can happen during all sorts of movements but shows up frequently during squats, jumping, and landing (here you see the far right image also shows a valgus position while running). To be clear, we do NOT want to see this position (if you are a high level Weightlifter — the Olympic sport, not someone who thinks they are strong — then maybe going valgus is an appropriate strategy for you…but let’s be honest, you aren’t reading this if you are a high level Weightlifter).

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