The sartorius muscle is a long muscle attached to the lower part of the outer hip at the top. It extends down from the hip, crosses over the inner thigh and connects to the inner knee. The sartorius muscle is usually injured when running, jumping around or from a direct hit, as in football. Dancers and gymnasts often get this injury, which causes both hip and groin pain. Treatment usually includes a combination of topical applications, medications, stretching and rehabilitation exercises.
Effects of Rest, Ice and Heat
People with a sartorius muscle injury are usually required to rest for an extended period of time to prevent further aggravation of the injury. During the first 48 hours, ice can be applied to help reduce inflammation and pain--it causes vasoconstriction, which controls inflammation by limiting blood flow and fluids to the area. Ice should be compressed against the central portion of the injury, which can be the hip, groin area or inner thigh. Doctors often also recommend elevating the injured area above the heart to reduce inflammation. After the inflammation has subsided, heat is sometimes used to promote blood flow (with its healing properties) to the area.
Types of Medications
Ibuprofen, naproxen and other anti-inflammatory medications can also alleviate inflammation and pain. These medications serve as Cox-2 inhibitors, which prevent these enzymes and prostaglandins (chemicals) from reacting as they usually do to various injuries. This helps mitigate pain and swelling. Topical ointments such as Bengay may also be effective for treating a sartorius muscle injury. In more severe cases, steroids may be prescribed.
Types of Stretching Exercises and Massage
Once swelling and the majority of pain have subsided, stretching exercises can be implemented to reacclimate the sartorius muscle to movement. Stretching also promotes blood flow to the area, which helps to loosen the muscle up. This muscle can tighten during periods of inactivity, especially in older people. Regular stretching, even after the injury heals, will help prevent future injuries. Massage is sometimes used to promote lymph and blood flow, relax the muscle, relieve spasms, reduce potential scar tissue and enhance the healing of the muscle tissue.
Types of Resistance Exercise
Once a person has adequately stretched his sartorius muscle for an ample period of time, they might be ready for some resistance exercising. Seated or standing hip flexion exercises are often recommended for building strength. Flexion exercises are designed to provide tension while pushing the legs together (seated) or pushing the legs backward (standing). Both of these movements can help rebuild strength in the injured sartorius muscle. Knee extensions also build strength in the inner thigh and knee sections of the sartorius muscle.
There is no set time frame for overcoming a sartorius muscle injury. Those who are more proactive in treating their injury can expect to heal faster than others.