Injury Question

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Submitted by User hidden on Wed, 2006-08-23 03:12

Here's my problem. I do gymnastics, and lately, I've been straining my inner thigh muscle a lot doing pretty innocuous skills. Is there a reason that I might be straining that particular muscle over and over? Any advice on how to fix that?


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Since this thread came back up, I thought I'd let you all know how I am doing. I quit doing serious gymnastics for a lot longer than I did the last few times, and I think I am finally healed. I've been stretching that muscle more extensively, and I have done two very long, intense gymnastics workout this week, and I haven't felt any pain at all. Hooray!!


Kelly :

Mark's picture

After you’re well, for prevention you might give the “Alexander Technique” a try. It’s a method of carriage awareness and improvement, carriage as in how you carry yourself. You can read about it here:
Ignore philosophic hanger-ons to the Alexander Technique, like John Dewey.

ARI Watch

Thanks for the advice, everyone.

User hidden's picture

It is definitely a strained muscle from what I have read here and elsewhere. It's only painful when I do extreme things to it. So, I think probably I haven't given it enough rest. I will avoid doing very sudden upwards and backwards kicks (which seems to be the thing that always strains it) as much as I am able, and I will look into a good massage. I have had some serious massage work done on my neck and jaw, but never my legs, and tightness and trigger points may have something to do with it. Once I get rid of the injury, I'll go to a knowledgeable trainer to find out what I can do to strengthen and balance my leg muscles. I appreciate all your insights.


Kelly, I don't have much to

Wes's picture

I don't have much to add outside of the conventional wisdom, except;

-Flexibility can be a whole body problem. If your back tightens up it can affect your legs and vice versa.

-Torn muscles weren't really given a lot of rest. Maybe a day or two of complete rest and then light work within a comfortable range of motion.

> I've been straining my

PhilipC's picture

> I've been straining my inner thigh muscle a lot doing pretty innocuous skills. Is there a reason that I might be straining that particular muscle over and over?

This may not be relevant, but when I ran track (and later marathons),

(i) I never had any strains or sprains except the one time I tried to add too much mileage over too few weeks to try to get ready for a marathon in only three months: The muscles simply weren't -ready- for that level or length of work, let alone to pound away on concrete for 26 miles. [Similar problem for runners who get shin splints or calf problems or knee problems: their legs are not yet loose, ready, in tune enough for the pounding.]
(ii) I always stretched well before a workout or race. I assume you know what are the appropriate stretches for what you are doing -- different from a runner.

When I play tennis or basketball, I always start slow, no 'slamming' or rapid 'gear shifting' for at least twenty minutes (rallying, shoot around, etc.) till everything is warmed up. If you have tight hamstrings (some people do), those need to be stretched as well.

Since you are 27, you may be able to warm up in only 27 minutes.

I am a hundred and 27, so I need 28 minutes.

> NB: Ross and Phil are not

PhilipC's picture

> NB: Ross and Phil are not medical doctors, nor are they therapists.

So kind of you to point that out, Craig Smiling

More seriously, I run and play several sports and several times in the last few years when I had a minor injury or muscular problem, I googled the condition and found that there are sites like WebMD which provide very good explanations and treatments...and advice as to -when- you really need to see the doctor as opposed to self-treatment, rest, massage, heat, icing it yourself, etc.

Referred by Ross

Craig Ceely's picture

Kelly, although Ross referred me here, I am not a doctor, and I am not your doctor. But I do have rather a fair bit of expertise with women's inner thighs.

Damn, that could be our slogan for SOLO Fitness...

Anyway, there's a lot going on in the upper legs, not just muscle but all sorts of connective tissue, large blood vessels, and nerve endings as well. That's the reason steroid users are cautioned not to inject their inner thighs, by the way. I went to a doctor this year with an inner thigh complaint (adductors, maybe) and he wouldn't give me a cortisone shot for the pain: too much chance of hitting the wrong thing.

So where's that leave you and your pain? Well, if it's muscle that hurts, it probably won't hurt for more than a few weeks, if that. Muscle heals all the time -- none of us would be enthusiastic lifters or gymnasts if that weren't the case. Meanwhile, ice for the pain. Tendons and ligaments, now, can take a lot longer to heal, which is why...

If you're hurting, I'd recommend seeing a doctor, and soon. Even if you're only prescribed tincture of time (and that's what I used for my own complaint), you'll at least learn whether it's anything serious or not.

(NB: Ross and Phil are not medical doctors, nor are they therapists.)

Musings on strained muscles

Robert's picture
Hi Kelly,

The problem is that after you've strained the inner thigh once, the injury repeats itself until you've let it heal. So the repeat strains are probably due to you aggravating the original injury. Treat the original injury and then you can focus on strengthening that muscle to make sure that the injury doesn't get repeated.

Obviously the best advice on how to fix the problem is to consult a doctor. I have some suggestions but I'm not a MD and even if I were, diagnosing injuries over the internet is impossible. If you are in any doubt as to what the injury is, don't bother with the suggestions I've written below and go see a doctor/physiotherapist. I except no liability for any injury you sustain by choosing to follow my amateur advice and so on and so forth.

OK, so that's the disclaimer now to my amateur advice: 

If you have the standard strained muscle (and not a torn ligament or something like that) then there are things you can do that will allow you to heal (at a slower rate) and use the leg at the same time. The optimal way to treat the problem (from the medical stand-point) is to rest the injury totally. That obviously is impractical in your case because you've got to make a living out of your legs - so to speak.

Here is my advice on what works to fix a muscle strain and stop it coming back. It's based on my own personal personal experiences. I know that when I've strained a muscle simply because I recognise the pain that goes with it (I've pulled enough muscles, broken enough bones and torn enough ligaments to diagnose the injury based on the characteristics of the pain I feel.) Basically, a strained (as opposed to torn) muscle will hurt only when force (massage) or effort is applied. Stretching or massaging the muscle will hurt, but will relieve the pain slightly or for a short length of time. If that doesn't describe the problem you have then you should see a doctor.

So if a muscle strain is what you have and you can't rest it, here's what I suggest:

The first is to stretch the muscle gently at regular intervals during the day. Again, be aware of the pain you feel. There is a difference between an angry, tired muscle complaining about being used and a muscle screaming because it has reached breaking point. Be aware of that and don't over do it. Stretch slowly just until you can feel a slight twinge, hold the stretch for 10-15 seconds and then back off slowly.

If you ~don't~ find that, after a day or two, you are able to stretch further without pain then when you started, you need to see a doctor!

Next you have to massage the area as best you can. Gently rubbing the area, with some heating chemical like lynament or "tiger balm" or "icy-hot" should help. Though, I prefer to use standard massage oil and apply heat using gel-bags that Walmart sells for about $2-3. These gel bags can hold a temperature for about 10 minutes. So you can cool it down or heat it up and, if you buy the version with the velcro strap, you just strap the thin in place, elevate and rest your leg and watch TV until the bag looses it's temperature. I find this to be the most convienent and least messy way of applying heat/cold to your injured muscle.

Other than that, the only thing to do is to keep off the leg as much as possible - try and find a way to sleep that doesn't aggravate the injury. 

Before exercise, make sure that the area is well warmed up and stretched. After exercise, stretch it again. When it starts to feel better, look into simple exercises that will strengthen that muscle.

One other thing to check is that your muscle hasn't become strained because a muscle group above or below it (and attached to it) has become "knotted" and won't unwind so that it is antagonising other muscles while you do the exercise. These were called "Trigger points" by physiotherapists who rehabed my right leg after I tore/strained my knee and ankle playing indoor cricket. They are found by running a firm hand up and down the limb until a painful area - that has no reason to be painful - is found. 

For instance, when I run cross country the sides of my calf muscles tighten up. I feel sharp pain in my ankle and big toe. Heavy massage in the area of the calf muscle next to the femur loosens the knotted sinues in my calf and relieves the muscle pain in my ankles and big toe. 

Your pain may not be caused by a "trigger point," but seeing as running a firm hand over your buttocks, lower back and leg is free and completely benign - it's worth checking. You could even get a special friend to do it for you if you like Smiling

Hope that helps.



Martin's picture

If only I had seen this earlier, I could have left pervy comments too! Sticking out tongue

I can offer notes from my own experience. When I try a new exercise I usually find unfamiliar places that get sore. I think it's because I'm stressing the muscle in a different way, but this generally clears up as I practice that exercise and develop better form and strength. But if this happens when you're practicing skills you already know, then I agree with Brant's suggestion.


eg's picture

If you can't rest it consult a sports' doctor.


Brant . . .

User hidden's picture

How long does that kind of complete healing take? How completely do I have have to stay off of the leg? I do this for a living, and though I really can stop doing cartwheels, handstands, and other specific skills that put extreme stress on that muscle, I can't stop doing anything strenuous at all. How will I know when it is completely healed? I have waited until there is no more pain before I have gone back everytime.


Phil and Ross . . .

User hidden's picture

I forgot how many pervs there are on SOLO! Smiling


I'd guess

eg's picture

You aren't letting it fully heal.


For Christ's sake, Phil, get

Ross Elliot's picture

For Christ's sake, Phil, get a grip! Of course it's a serious question!

Never mind him, Kelly, you have my email if your need any assistance...

Kelly, you just leave such

PhilipC's picture

Kelly, you just leave such an opening here; I'm biting my tongue.

(You weren't looking for a serious answer, were you?)

Kelly, any advice I could

Ross Elliot's picture

Kelly, any advice I could offer would be lascivious in the extreme.

Our fitness coordinator will be of more help. Craig?

And best of luck with that inner thigh, Kelly Cool

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