The sartorius muscle is a long, thin, band-like muscle in your interior thigh. It’s the longest muscle in the human body. The muscle primarily helps flex and rotate your thigh at the hip joint. The muscle is so long, it also crosses the knee joint, where it helps flex the leg.
In your daily life, you’ll notice that the sartorius:
- Assists in raising your leg at the thigh (bringing knee to chest)
- Assists with twisting your knee inward, toward the body
- Assists moving your thigh away from the body
- Assists with bending your knee
You’ll use your sartorial when you sit cross-legged or look at the sole of your foot. The name sartorius comes from the latin sartor, which means tailor; probably a throw-back to the time when tailors sat cross-legged for long periods while working.
Problems with the sartorius muscle typically stem from sitting cross-legged or sitting with legs up an crossed (think sitting in a recliner with your legs crossed) for a long period. It can also become stressed during sports that require planting a foot and turning sharply (like baseball, hockey, skating, soccer or football).
You’ll typically feel a problem with the sartorius as a stinging or burning pain in the front and inside of the thigh.
What to do?
If you encounter problems with muscle strain, a good first stop is a qualified therapeutic massage therapist. They’ll likely work on the sartorius, and the quad muscles surrounding it, along with other hip flexors. Since one major antagonist to the sartorius is the vastus intermedius, they may work with that muscle too. Trigger point therapy is also very effective on this muscle. Foam rolling can also help. You can also use hot/cold therapies (wraps, creams) to help relieve muscle pain. If pain doesn’t subside after a couple days, you might want to see a sports medicine doctor or other qualified physician.