Stubborn Knee Pain???

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GRACILIS Gracilis

Let’s look at the interrelationship between a muscle, SMR, active static stretching, knots and water. Feast your little eyeballs on the GRACILIS, an unexplored muscle that assists in knee flexion. The gracilis originates on the pubic bone (ischiopubic ramus) and inserts on the shin bone (Tibia – pes anserinus). It crosses two joints (hip and knee) and therefore, can pose a problem for both, in this blog we will explore the relationship of the gracilis to the knee.

We build up adhesions or knots from all of the physical activity that we do, especially weightlifting, and our connective tissue can shorten and “tug” on the length of our muscles – much like a knot in a rope. Some areas in our bodies are harder to get to than others…like the gracilis!!!

Knot

We have found one of the best ways to get up into the high fibers in the inner groin (gracilis and adductor longus) to self massage or SMS that area is to set up a foam roller or PVC pipe, if your tissue is appropriately warmed up, between 2 jerk boxes and release those pesky knots!

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In these photos you see the athlete using their own body weight to roll the tissue. It is recommended to travel the entire length of the gracilis from hip to knee. When you find a “doozy” of a knot – hover on it and use transverse friction (roll side to side) before continuing down towards the knee. Try to not “plow” through a knot, rather, consider it like a walnut and you are not trying to send the walnut across the room, you are trying to make walnut paste. Be gentle and purposeful.

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As you get down towards the insertion a tool such as the “P-Knot” can be useful to get around the “nooks and crannies” of the bony knee joint.

imageCheck out this straddle stretch using a barbell to assist the hips from internal rotation. Keeping our feet neutral and out of hip internal rotation will keep the gracilis at a longer length, thus enhancing the stretch. Hold onto the bar to push your feet back and pull yourself into the stretch.

Let’s also keep in mind the crucial role of water to our muscles, joints and recovery. According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry, muscles are 80% water. A dehydrated muscle will likely be more susceptible to “junk” or adhesions / knots. Fascia is also mostly all water – 70% – and that is why water is so critical to the healing process. Maybe you will have less knots to deal with simply by staying hydrated! . image

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