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  • Karen Stoner, LMT

Meet Your Muscles: Sartorius

Meet your muscles: Piriformis

Where is it?

Your Sartorius starts at the Anterior Superior Iliac Spine (ASIS) which is the "pointy" edge of the pelvis. It runs in an "S" shaped pattern around the upper leg and attaches to the inside of the tibia - the inner bone of the lower leg below the knee. It is the longest muscle in the human body.

What does it do?

The Sartorius is responsible for flexing both the hip and the knee. It is also one of the hip rotator muscles which allows the hip to externally rotate. Due to its unique shape, it also internally rotates the knee.

What makes it hurt?

Meet Your Muscles: Sartorius

Activities that have repetitive use of the hips and knees as well as putting large amounts of force on the hips and knees can irritate the Sartorius. Bicyclists, dancers, track runners (hurdles), and anyone who does a lot of movement lifting and pounding the knees can cause irritation both at the hip and the knee attachments. At the same time, sitting for long periods of time can also aggravate the hips because they are held in flexion for a long time. Pain can feel like a burning or stinging in the outside of the hip or the inside of the knee.

Meet Your Muscles: Sartorius

How can massage help?

Since this muscle is so long, it is easy to massage. It can be massaged as part of the quadriceps group in the thigh and down to the knee. Massage of the hip flexors can also help relieve irritation at the top of the muscle.

What can I do besides massage to help them?

Gentle stretching is often recommended for Sartorius issues - although overstretching can make them worse. If there is pain or an injury, rest and anti-inflammatories may help. Since most injuries involve pulling and tearing at the top and bottom tendons, rest is very important. Strengthening the muscles surrounding the Sartorius such as the quads, gastrocnemius (calves), low back, and abs can help stabilize and take pressure off of this already hard-working muscle.

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