A client story: I recently had a client, a runner, that was having pain in her knee. although she felt the pain was caused or was coming from somewhere else. She felt sure of this because she had been having pain and burning sensations at different locations on the inside of her leg. Along with pain on the inside of her knee. Basically the pain moved around to various location on the inside of her leg and know was now also showing up at the knee. She was frustrated because when she had it looked at the focus was only on the knee and all the other pain wasn’t considered. She was told that it it was most likely femoral pain syndrome, (runners knee). They wanted to do an MRI but she felt that the knee was healthy and that something else might be going on. We talked and she mentioned that she felt that the pain she was feeling on the inside of the leg was contributing to the knee problem, but no one was considering the inside leg pain. Once we started to work the area it quickly became apparent that it was the Sartorius muscle. Basically we hit all three trigger points which created all 3 pain types she was dealing with. Two sessions and very focused foam rolling and she was back to running. So let talk about the Sartorius.
YourHealthySteps Christina and I teach foam rolling and self care skills. So you can be active, pain free, and healthy. We are not medical doctors. We are not diagnosing, treating or prescribing, This is for educational purposes only. We are giving you 14 Years of experience as Neuromuscular Massage Therapist. We have worked with professional, and semi-professional collegiate athletes and highly athletic adults.
The Sartorius is the longest muscle in the human body and it has some unusual pain patterns, which are often misdiagnosed! Athletes affected are often soccer players, basketball and dancers, but this muscle can affect runners, swimmers. it sure gave one of my client some trouble.
Where is this muscle located? This muscle is located in the front of your upper leg. It starts at the front outside edge of your hip at a point called the ASIS. Place your hands on your hips, (ike your mad a some one). Feel around with your pointer finger and you should feel a bony bump at the top of your hip. This is where Sartorius muscle begins. It travel down and across the upper leg to the outside of the knee. So drop your finger off the bony bump of the hip and onto the top of the Sartorius. Feel with your finger toward the inside of the muscle until it sort of drop off the muscle. Keep you finger here and slowly move downward and inward along the hard muscle edge. Like a line it should lead you downward and inward toward the inside of the knee. For some people you may have to push into the muscle a little to feel it. As it near the inside of the knee it turns into a tendon and may be harder to feel. The Sartorius tendon actually crosses below the inside of the knee and joins two other muscles the Gracilis and the Semitendinosus. creating a large tendon called the pes anserinus (goose foot). So this muscle can effect both the hip and the knee.
What does this muscle do? This is a muscle that can multi-task. This muscle: 1. Pulls the leg up at the knee, 2. Rotates the hip outward, 3. Pulls the hip away from the center of the body, 4. Bends the knee. 5. Rotates the bent knee inward. To get a good idea of what that all means let have you do try it. Sit down in a chair and cross your leg so that the right ankle is resting on top of your knee. You just engaged all the movements of the Sartoius.
Note: if you have pain after being in this position for a while, or can not get into this position this is a good indication that the Sartoius might be tight.
A tight Sartorius muscle: Can cause unusual pain throughout the leg, hip and knee. It also has unusual referral pain patterns that mimic other issue and can be hard to diagnose. The whole muscle can be tender to the touch, or have tightness, pain or swelling around the knee or the hip, It can also create a burning sensation just under the skin anywhere along the length of the muscle or a stabbing pain any where along the muscle.
Trigger Points and Pain Patterns: This muscle has 3 trigger points 1.Top tgrpt causes pain front of the hip down the front and to the side of the thigh, 2nd cause pain in the mid groin area and bit into the front of the thigh, 3rd causes pain lower groin area to the inside of the knee.
Nerve Entrapment: A tight Sartorius can also entrap a nerve that travels through the back inside part of the knee and that large tendon pes anserine. Possible signs of nerve entrapment are pain on the inside/medial aspect of the knee, pain/tightness on the back of the leg above the knee, pain or tightness is often present with going up stairs, there may be tightness, burning, tingling, or numbness into the lower leg.
Fortunately tight muscle issue are typically easy fixes, unfortunately for her it created a kind of wild goose hunt, which impacted her training.
Sports and the Sartorius muscle: Typically multi directional sports that make quick turns (soccer, dancer, lacross and basketball) But Swimmer, gymnast, runners
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