The sartorius muscle can suffer injury when excessive force causes the upper leg to stretch beyond its capacity. Tissue fibers may partially separate or fully tear, weakening the leg and restricting its motion. A muscle injury to the sartorius may be debilitating and make walking and everyday tasks like getting dressed difficult. While muscle tissue usually heals on its own without surgery, diligent treatment can erase the pain and restore function as soon as possible.
Local leg pain usually guides patients toward treating the right muscle group. The NYU Langone Medical Center reports that patients may feel a pop or snap at the time of muscle injury.
The long, thin sartorius muscle runs from the hip area in an arc across the thigh to the knee. Its action works to flex the knee, as when walking, and to rotate the leg, as when crossing the legs. Trauma-induced inflammation may make the entire front of the thigh, which includes the four quadriceps muscles, sore and swollen.
Immediate rest and first aid treatment end the muscular stress and begin the healing process. Conversely, working or playing through the pain can increase the damage, as the weakened sartorius muscle may not be able to meet physical demands. The National Institutes of Health, the NIH, advises athletes and others to get medical help for thigh strains if normal movement causes leg pain.
First aid includes rest, ice, compression and elevation to ease leg pain and inflammation, according to the University of Buffalo Sports Medicine group. Doctors may prescribe full bed rest for a short period before allowing patients to put weight on the leg and move about.
Crutches or a cane should aid walking while the leg’s strength and range of motion limit mobility. Rehabilitation includes a period of gentle stretching, followed by a gradual resumption of normal activity and, finally, strenuous exercise or sports.
The first aid stage of recovery should last as long as the initial inflammation to the sartorius muscle does, generally one or two days, according to the NIH. Stretching within the pain-free range of motion should begin as pain gives way to soreness and swelling subsides.
A mild or moderate blow, fall or overuse muscle injury may take three weeks to three months to heal. In more severe cases, doctors can make informed recovery time estimates after examining patients.
Although resting alleviates leg pain, complete bed rest beyond the acute inflammatory stage can have a backlash effect. Unused muscles rapidly begin to stiffen and shorten. Rather than hindering recovery, gentle stretching and exercise assist in suppling and lengthening muscles. The NYU Langone Medical Center recommends frequent daily stretching after the muscle injury, beginning as soon as patients can do so without pain.