Notorius, But With An "Sar"

You know how frustrating it gets to keep feeling aches and pains in the same area and just not know what is causing it? I've gone through this many times and my first instinct used to be to go to the doctor. But after doing that for a few times I know that all the doctor will do is give me a prescription for Ibuprofen, Naproxen or any pain relieving medication, tell me to rest and then if necessary, send me to physical therapy.

Then, in physical therapy, they will work to get the swelling / inflammation / pain down, and then teach you a bunch of exercises to build up strength in the afflicted area. I've gone through this twice already and pretty much know the drill.

So nowadays, I try to manage these things on my own taking more of an interest in what the cause and corrections are. I see my chiropractor monthly for ART and adjustment tune-ups and get lots of good advice from her. I've resurrected the physical therapy exercises and have been doing them faithfully. I make sure to do strength training workouts at least once or twice a week, if not more. And I also get Thai and Sport massages on a regular basis.

Yet despite all of this I am still having problems in my R leg. Sometimes its my hip, sometimes it's my knee and most times it's a number of other little things in the surrounding area. I knew it all has to be related and I knew I was close to figuring it out, but I wasn't quite there yet.

I saw my massage therapist earlier this week and was going on and on about my hip and knee and how I've been doing all these strength building exercises and "what was it gonna take to make it strong", blah, blah, blah.

So he asked me what specific exercises I've been doing and when I told him he stopped and looked at me and said, "Silly girl, some of those exercises are the worst things you should be doing for your leg."

HUH?

So he explained:

• Right now my feet are "duck" (vs. "pigeon") meaning, they naturally turn outward (vs. inward). This tells him that my Hip A-B-ductors are plenty strong (some of the PTX exercises I've been doing like mad).

• The Sartorius ("like notorious but with an "sar") muscle in my R leg is super, super tight which is why the outer portion of my R hip/IT Band hurts and the inner portion of my R knee feels like it is pulling.

• My muscle imbalance lies in my inner thighs and I should be doing Hip A-D-ductor strength-building exercises vs. Hip A-B-ductors.

Ohhhhh.....so that actually made sense.

Fun Fact: He also said that the Sartorius muscle is the longest muscle in the body.

Sartorius
Sartorius

{image from the Trigger Points iPhone app}

So I came home and looked up Hip A-D-duction exercises and realized that I never did exercises for them because they're all the exercises I hate doing:

• Lunges • Wall Squats • Plies • Side-lying Hip A-D-ductors

Blah.

One of the exercises he suggested was to swim with a pull buoy and cross my ankles, squeezing the pull buoy with my thighs.

Yesterday I had a swim workout scheduled, only my second time swimming this year. I *love* swimming and looked forward to it all week. I got to use my new Garmin (it was heaven-sent not to have to keep calculating the distance in my head as I swam) and tried his "crossed ankles" suggestion.

All I have to say is, "Holy cow!" Talk about fully engaging the inner thigh AND core muscles. Not to mention hip flexors! It was hard but I managed to maintain it for a good part of the 1525 yards I swam.

Last night I worked out with Trainer Dave and he modified the workout he had planned to introduce those Hip A-D-ductor exercises I love to hate:

5 sets:

- 10 TRX Atomic Push-ups. Here's a video of what these look like:

I used to hate these with a passion but they're kinda growing on me.

- 10 TRX Low Body Rows

- 10 Kettle Bell Sumo Squats with Overhead Swings: The sumo squats are very similar to Plie Squats but the KB nicely adds in some upper bodywork.

- 1 minute Wall Squats: He also added in squeezing a 4 lb medicine ball with my knees for more inner thigh work. I have bad memories of wall squats and absolutely hated these, but knowing that I *have* to build up strength in this area made them more tolerable.

3 sets:

- 10 Hamstring curls on a Fitness Ball

- 10 Ankle Band Pulls

I'm so sore (the good kind of sore!) from all of these exercises that I'm rearranging the rest of my workout schedule this week and taking today as a Rest Day.

Half the frustration of dealing with any sort of pain or injury is not knowing what's wrong and how to correct it. I feel like once I know what it is; half the battle is won because now I can put together a game plan to address it.