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(Last Updated On: September 21, 2018)

Sartorius Muscle Referred Pain Pattern:  The sartorius contributes to stinging burning pain in the front and inside of the thigh. The inside of the knee can be sore and tender to pressure and touch.

Sartorius Muscle Pain: Signs and Symptoms

The sartorius is known for two types of pain. The first is a sudden sharp stabbing pain in the muscle and the other is a burning stinging sensation just under the skin. Both types of pain can occur anywhere along the length of muscle.

Sartorius Muscle Injury

Sharp stabbing pain is a sign of the muscle stretching beyond its capacity and muscle fibers tearing. This often occurs when your foot is planted and you do a hard pivot or hard turn. Falling with your legs and lower body twisted can also cause this type of injury and pain.

Sartorius Trigger Points

Trigger points can develop throughout the length of the muscle. Burning and stinging can be due to a sartorius strain injury but is often attributed to the development of trigger points in one or more areas of the muscle.

Sartorius muscle pain can be constant or intermittent.  Standing and movement will increase discomfort. Sitting or lying down often helps ease the pain and burning sensations.

360° Compression Cold Sleeve

Burning and stinging in the thigh? Tender swollen knee? The FreezeSleeve is one of the best cold therapy products for the legs and arms on the market. The sleeve provides cold  compression which reduces inflammation and provides additional pain relieve.


Where is the sartorius muscle located?

The sartorius muscle attaches to the hip bone (iliac spine), travels down the front of the thigh moving toward the inside of the thigh and connects to the inside of the shin bone (tibia). Because it attaches to the hip and knee, it facilitates movement in both joints.

What movements does the sartorius muscle control?

The sartorius affects the movement of two joints, the hip and the knee. The movements at the hip are bending (flexion) at the hip, think of bringing your knee to your chest. It also twists your leg out away from the other leg (lateral rotation).

Movements of the knee are bending the knee (flexion) and twisting the knee in toward your other leg (medial rotation).

Sartorius Anatomy Info

Looking for detailed muscle anatomy? The Sartorius Muscle Anatomy page has origin, insertion, innervation and blood supply information. It also lists agonist and antagonists for each muscle action.


Suggestions For You:


Activities that cause sartorius pain and symptoms:

  • Sitting cross-legged and in the lotus pose puts enormous strain on the sartorius.
  • Sitting with your legs up and crossed in a recliner or resting on an ottoman
  • Sleeping on your back or stomach with your legs crossed
  • Slipping or taking a misstep
  • Planting your foot and pivoting, making a sharp turn
  • Pushing off your foot hard to accelerate quickly

Sports and activities that require fast turns, pivots, quick acceleration, and extended strides can strain and injure the sartorius muscle. These include:

  • football
  • basketball
  • hockey
  • lacrosse
  • soccer players
  • swimmers
  • joggers
  • power walkers

Tips To Prevent Sartorius Injury and Pain

  • If you habitually sit with your legs up, occasionally drop them down and rest your feet on the floor. Even better, get up and walk around.
  • Before walking, jogging, running, exercise, and participation in sports, take time to warm up and do some light stretches.
  • When walking on slick surfaces, pay attention to your steps. Don't fall!
  • If practicing yoga be aware that the tree pose, lotus pose, butterfly pose (stretch), and fire log pose are stressful for the sartorius muscle. Don't try to push beyond what your muscles are capable of doing.
Sartorius origin, insertion, action, innervation

You use the sartorius muscel when you bend your knee, twist your leg outward, and bend the leg to move the knee toward the chest.

Interesting facts about the sartorius:

  • The sartorius is the longest muscle in the body.
  • Known as the tailor's muscle. Many tailors would sit with their legs crossed while they sewed and would have pain along the path of the sartorius muscle.

Sartorius Muscle Pain and Symptoms Can Be Similar To, Contribute To, and Be Affected By These Medical Diagnosis:

  • Floating Patella
  • Meniscus tear
  • Anterior cruciate ligament tear
  • Posterior cruciate ligament tear
  • L2 L3 or L4 radiculopathy

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the sartorius muscle:


Sartorius and Pes Anserinus Bursitis/ Tendonitis

Pes Anserinus is the area on the inside of the knee where the tendons of the sartorius, gracilis, and semitendinosus muscles connect to the shin bone.

Pes Anserinus Tendonitis occurs when the tendons become inflamed.

Pes Anserinus Bursitis describes the inflammation of the bursa, a gel filled sac, that is located between the shin bone (tibia) and the tendons of the sartorius, gracilis, and semitendinosus muscles.


Recommendations for Sartorius Muscle Pain Relief and Recovery

Hot Cold Packs Can Reduce The Burning and Stinging Sensations

The burning pain caused by the sartorius can be distracting. Many people find that cold packs help alleviate the pain. Cold packs are also recommended for recent muscle sprains, strains and pulls. One of the best packs to treat the sartorius is the Cureve Extra Large Hot/Cold Gel Pack. The pack is large enough to cover the sartorius muscle on most people. Additionally it can be warmed to use for aching pain and the tenderness in the knee.

If you prefer a hot cold pack that you can use while up and moving I recommend The Simple Spectra Clay Hot/Cold Wrap. It can be secured on the leg with two Velcro Staps. Keep in mind that this pack is not large enough to cover the entire muscle and will have to be moved for full treatment.

Warm and Cold Therapy Gels

When treating sartorius pain analesigic gels can be hit or miss for relieving the symptoms.

For some BioFreeze Cold Gel helps cool and relieve the burning and stinging in the thigh. For others it seems to aggravate the discomfort. If your primary symptom is tenderness and soreness in the knee, BioFreeze works very well.

Sombra Warming Gel is also very good for relieving tenderness and soreness in the joints and muscles. Again if your main complaint is the knee tenderness and soreness, Sombra is a good choice if you prefer warmth over cool. As for the burning and stinging sensations, my personal experience is Sombra does help however the area will become uncomfortably warm for several minutes before the relief sets in.

A Knee Pillow For Sleeping Comfort

If you sleep on your side the ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow can help relieve the stinging pain of the sartorius muscle by providing a cushion between your legs. It also helps with low back, hip and leg pain by keeping your spine, hips, and knees in proper alignment. A knee pillow works better than a regular pillow because it aligns the body and cradles your leg holding it in place.

Self Treatment Tool For The Sartorius Muscle

The Tiger Tail 18" Foam Roller is a foam roller that most people can easily use. This roller does not require you to get on the floor, contort your body into positions that may be difficult or have the upper body strength to hold yourself up.

To use the Tiger Tail on the sartorius position the roller at the top of the thigh and roll down toward the inside of the knee (do not use the roller on the knee). You can roll up or down or up and down which ever works best. Remember the sartiorus lies just under the skin so roll lightly!

Learn Self Treatment Techniques For Sartorius Pain

Burning stinging pain and tenderness on the inside of the knee are an indication of trigger points in the sartiorus muscle.

You can learn to find and treat your trigger points. The best resource for self treatment of trigger points is The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. The authors explain trigger points and their pain in a way that is easy to understand. Not only will you learn to treat trigger points in the sartorius muscle, but you will have a resource to treat problematic muscles throughout the body. I highly recommend this book to those who are interested in self treatment of muscle pain.

FYI: Satellite trigger points associated with the sartorius muscle :

A muscle trigger point often produces more trigger points in other muscles within the pain referral area. These are called satellite trigger points.

If you find trigger points in the sartorius muscle it is likely you will find trigger points in some or all of these muscles. The Trigger Point Workbook will help you find and treat these:

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