The Notorious Sartorius Muscle – Know your Muscles series.

The Sartorius muscle is the longest muscle in the body. It’s also one of the most interesting.

This article serves two purposes.
Firstly – to give you a better understanding of your body.
Secondly – for people experiencing pain in the inner thigh or the lower portion of the outer hip- you may have pulled or strained your sartorius muscle. (Pain on the inside of the knee might also come from a strained Sartorius).


The Sartorius is the longest muscle in your body. (The next sentence might/will be a bit heavy in technical terms, however I will break it down into easier terms in a moment). It starts at the anterior superior iliac spine, runs obliquely across the upper and anterior part of the thigh in an inferomedial direction and inserts onto the anteromedial proximal tibia. So, if you lie on your back and find the two parts where your hips point out, you will be in the area of the point of origin. This drawing should make things a bit easier to understad.


The sartorius muscle assists in flexing, abduction, and lateral rotation of the hip. If you are seated, extend your leg so that it straightens – the quads are doing most of the work with the sartorius contributing. Now, push your leg out toward your side. Once again, your sartorius plays a small role in this movement. Lastly, turn your foot upwards so that you rest your foot on the opposite knee. Your sartorius is now doing what it was designed to do.

The sartorius gets its name from the Latin word, sartor, which means tailor. There are a few theories as to how it derived its name. The two I like the best are as follows,
– the muscle resembles the ribbon used by tailors.
– tailors often used to cross their leg in order to create a working surface for needle work. I googled ‘cross legged tailor’ and could only come up with this –  taylor-swift
Things that can go wrong.

  • Pes anserine bursitis.
    The pes anserine, also known as the goose’s foot, is found just under the knee, on the tibia, on the inside of the leg. The semitendinosus hamstring muscle, gracilis and sartorius muscles insert here. The hamstring muscles are used to pull your lower leg backwards, the gracilis is used the pull your leg inward, toward the other leg and the sartorius to rotate your leg upward. Use of the sartorius can be disrupted if this area gets inflamed. Inflammation here is characterized by pain, swelling and tenderness.
  • The muscle can develop trigger points.
    The trigger points, in my experience, often lie midway through the length of the muscle. It is important to get them released. Trigger points on the sartorius often go together with trigger points on the rectus femoris, vastus medialis, fibularis, and adductor longus, brevis, and magnus. It’s always an idea to check the piriformis as well. An unhappy, trigger pointed muscle will often cause a burning or sharp tingling pain. The muscle can also cause pain on the inside of the knee. The pain can be mistaken for patella femoral pain syndrome, or, runner’s knee.
  • Swimmers, dancers, and soccer players  are more prone to sartorius issues. People practicing yoga should avoid overstretching and hence injuring the muscle during cross legged and lotus position exercises.

Hope that this gives you a better understanding of your body and the muscle. Give us a call if you are taking strain in this area.


Mike Roscoe.
Mike Roscoe


About sbrsport

SBR Sport specialises in Swimming, Biking and Running. On the medical side we are able to do intensive bike setups, leg assessments and soft tissue release. - and/or facebook -
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