When many individuals begin to work out or start training for an event, they incorporate various muscles to give optimal output and strength when doing a set of exercises. Many athletes or individuals trying to train for an event or to better themselves have to do a pre-workout routine involving various stretches to warm up the muscles before the actual workout and do stretches post-workout again. This ensures that the muscles are ready to give it their all when a person is working out. The body has various parts with different functions and jobs that help the body’s motor function. The upper body has the shoulders, arms, hands, elbows, neck, head, and chest to allow movements and stability. At the same time, the lower body has the hips, low back, thighs, legs, knees, pelvis, and feet to support the upper body’s weight and stabilize the lower extremities from collapsing. When various factors affect the body, it can lead to dysfunction and causes referred pain to different body locations that can mask chronic conditions. Today’s article looks at one of the lower body muscles located at the inner thighs, known as the pectineus muscle, how trigger point pain affects the inner thighs, and various stretches to strengthen the hip adductors. We refer patients to certified providers who incorporate multiple methods in the lower body extremities, like thigh and hip pain treatments correlating to trigger point pain, to aid individuals dealing with pain symptoms along the pectineus muscle. We encourage and appreciate patients by referring them to associated medical providers based on their diagnosis, especially when appropriate. We understand that education is an excellent solution to asking our providers complex questions at the patient’s request. Dr. Jimenez, D.C., utilizes this information as an educational service only. Disclaimer
Have you been experiencing pain in your inner thighs? Do you find it difficult to play various sports? Do you feel tenderness or soreness in your thighs or near your groin? Most of these symptoms are associated with trigger point pain along the pectineus muscles that affect the thighs. The pectineus is part of the anterior thigh muscles that extend the leg to the knee joint. The pectineus works with another muscle known as the sartorius and a muscle group known as the quadriceps femoris. The pectineus muscle is responsible for flexion, adduction, and medial rotation since it is a hip adductor for the thighs. This muscle is important for various sports activities like running, skating, soccer, or basketball and can become overused due to overstretching the legs too far, thus developing trigger points in the pectineus muscle.
When athletes overuse their legs and overstretch the pectineus muscle, it can cause issues with the thighs, hips, and legs’ mobility causing referred pain to the lower body. This is known as trigger point pain and can be challenging when diagnosing where the pain is located. Studies reveal that trigger point pain affecting the inner thighs, especially the pectineus muscle, can mimic groin and hip pain, causing various symptoms in the lower extremities. The multiple symptoms can include:
Various reasons can lead to the development of trigger point pain associated with the inner thighs along the pectineus; according to “Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction,” written by Dr. Janet G. Travell, M.D., stated that when patients are dealing with pectineus trigger points would complain about the referred pain surrounding the muscle but not the muscle itself. The book also mentioned that nerve entrapment could also be an issue since trigger points like to mimic other chronic conditions. Trigger points along the pectineus muscle can also develop associated with hip joint diseases like advanced osteoarthritis.
Are you experiencing issues when moving around constantly? Do you experience pain in your inner thighs and hips? Or do you have difficulty rotating your thighs or hips? If you have been dealing with these issues throughout your entire life, it could be due to your pectineus muscles being affected by trigger points along your inner thighs. Trigger points (myofascial pain syndrome) develop tiny nodules along the muscle fibers, causing referred pain to the surrounding muscles that can cause dysfunction in the lower extremities. Studies reveal that myofascial trigger points can cause the affected muscles to be intensely sensitive and irritable, predominantly near the reflex muscle. To that point, it causes hip and thigh disability in the lower body. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the pain and manage the trigger point pain along the pectineus muscle, as shown in the video above. The hip adductor muscles are being stretched and treated for trigger point pain and allowing mobility back to the hips and inner thighs.
Since the pectineus muscle is part of the hip adductor muscles, various stretches can reduce the chances of trigger points from future development while minimizing the pain that it is causing along the surrounding muscles. Studies reveal that multiple exercises and stretches for the pectineus muscle can help with hip flexion and stabilization. These stretches can help stretch and strengthen the hip adductor muscles while preventing groin pain associated with trigger points. Incorporating these stretches before and after a workout can reduce trigger points and allow hip mobility and thigh rotation back to the legs. This ensures that the trigger points along the pectineus muscle are managed, and the individual doesn’t have to suffer from referred pain issues on the thighs and can move around without pain.
As part of the hip adductor muscles, the pectineus is a small muscle that extends the leg to the knees and allows the thighs to flex, adduct, and rotate without pain. This muscle is important for many athletes participating in sports and can be easily overstretched to cause referred pain around the thighs. To that point, it can develop trigger points along the pectineus muscles can correlate to groin pain in the lower extremities. All is not lost, as various stretches and exercises can strengthen the hip adductor muscles and improve thigh and hip mobility. This allows athletes and individuals to continue playing the sport they enjoy.
Giphart, J Erik, et al. “Recruitment and Activity of the Pectineus and Piriformis Muscles during Hip Rehabilitation Exercises: An Electromyography Study.” The American Journal of Sports Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2012, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22523373/.
Khan, Ayesha, and Abdul Arain. “Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Anterior Thigh Muscles.” In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL), StatPearls Publishing, 10 June 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538425/.
Kiel, John, and Kimberly Kaiser. “Adductor Strain.” In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL), StatPearls Publishing, 21 June 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493166/.
Simons, D. G., and L. S. Simons. Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual: Vol. 2:the Lower Extremities. Williams & Wilkins, 1999.
Wada, Juliano T, et al. “An Anatomical Basis for the Myofascial Trigger Points of the Abductor Hallucis Muscle.” BioMed Research International, Hindawi, 22 Jan. 2020, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6998759/.
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The information herein on "Inner Thigh Pain Associated With Trigger Points" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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