Rehabilitating a pesky muscle

I used to martial arts for about three hours a day, six days a week (my bod looked like Linda Hamilton’s in Terminator 2 – just call me The Crayonator!)

I always found that some leg muscle in my left inner thigh was just not as elastic as on the right - noticeable when trying to do the splits. No pain, just mildly annoying that I wasn’t as flexible on that side, but my overall range of motion was still very good.

One day while doing gentle stretches, I heard a pop and thought “Uh-oh, in about three seconds, this is really going to hurt!”…

Strangely there was no pain. No, pain at all. Ever. After that I had super flexibility on that side. WEE-HAA! I was like Schmoo! Infinitely flexible.

I took a couples years off martial arts when I hurt my ankle in an accident (yeah, it took that long to fix my ankle). Now, I’m trying to get back into martial arts…

WTF is wrong with that muscle???

Forget about flexibility - it can’t stretch even half as far as my right side. And this time instead of just a lack of stretchiness I feel really nasty, sharp pain. Like I could tear something easily. Even light stretching requires extra care - I can notice it when my feet are only as far apart as my shoulders’ width.

I’m wondering if that “pop” sound I heard years ago was a tear, or me detatching something from bone (which happened to a friend, but usually that’s accompanied by big pain) and then it “healed” funny. But it would have had to heal funny only after I stopped working out everyday for two years (is that even possible?). I had that super felxibility and no pain for the full two years that I was working out every single day. The muscle just seized up after I stopped.

How can I go about rehabilitating this muscle to coax it back to a healthy flexiblity? Or at least get it to a within a normal range of motion.

I’m not looking to regain my “rubber-leg” flexibility, but sometimes even moderate exercise hurts far more than it ought to and produces sharp, hot pain. Definitely “damage pain.”

It’s an inner thigh muscle, possibly an abductor (maybe the gracilis). Hamstrings are perfectly fine, I can sit on the floor and lie right down with my chest on my legs. It’s not right in the groin either.

I have seen a doctor and nothing seems to be amiss. Scar tissue is assumed, but he also thought it was weird that there was never any obvious injury that caused it. He also assumed that the “pop” was some kind of tearing - but there was no pain, no inflammation, and no other signs of injury at the time. So if my muscle was injured, we don’t even really know where or the nature of the injury.

I’ve been trying really long warm-ups and about a full hour of gently stretching and massaging just legs. I’m keeping my kicking workout extremely light so that my workout is brief and barely even gets my heart rate up (I’m being so gentle). I’ve been restricting my range of motion to be sure I don’t ballistically stretch the muscle at all.

Any recommendations for a gentle regimen that will get that pesky muscle to get used to moving again?

My one bump…

Perhaps this was more a a GQ question? Nah, this is more of an opinion-based question for the sporty Dopers, the injured Dopers, and the muscle-building beefacke Dopers.

Anybody have a good workout regimen for gradually getting an injury back to normal?

That’s a stumper.

I would recommend at this point that you see a sports medicine doc or possibly a physical therapist. Sounds like your first doc covered all the likely stuff. You need a specialist.

Maybe the muscle is made out of leather…

I’m hoping to get in touch with my former roommate who’s a PT. So far it seems I’m on the right track with my style of workout (according to my RMT whose background is in kineisiology), but I’m wondering if anyone else has done something similar? What worked, what didn’t? How long it took. That kind of stuff.

As long as I’m careful, everything is going okay. Except my heart and lungs would really love a real workout and not this mini, ultra-careful workout.

IANAD. IAAlsoNAPhysiologist.

You might have torn the muscle, and it healed with adhesions. Those adhesions must be stretched out, which is a long process (as you are discovering).

Have you tried PNF stretching? That’s where you stretch the muscle for a slow count of six, then isometrically contract it for a slow count of six, and then GENTLY extend the stretch a bit further.

The other suggestion would be deep massage. Don’t confuse this with a rub down. Deep massage is going to hurt. Find a professional.

Good luck. Make haste slowly.