The sartorius muscle arises from the iliac spine, runs obliquely across the upper and anterior part of the thigh and attaches to the inner side of the tibia. The name sartorius comes from the Latin word for “sartorial” (i.e. “to do with tailoring)”, and it is sometimes called the tailor’s muscle.
There are a few hypotheses as to the genesis of the name: that it referred to the cross-legged position in which tailors sat, or the portion of the muscle being the “inseam” of the inner thigh that tailors measure when fitting a pant, or that the muscle resembles a tailor’s ribbon. The muscle assists in the flexion, abduction and lateral rotation of hip, and flexion of knee.
I also learned this week that the muscle is critical in ice skating, necessary to thrust forward and to maintain balance, especially in one who has not skated in fifty years. At the urging of my grandchildren, I donned skates to take a few turns around the Fleet Bank Skating Center. “Skating is like riding a bike.”
“Not so,” I say. I soon realized that I could only skate forward, could not stop, could not make a crossover and could only make a few turns around the rink at a time. Now I know why hockey players do just two minutes at a time on the ice, and they carry sticks, shoot a puck and get hit!
So what is all this about the sartorius? And skating? The sartorius must be absolutely necessary for someone fifty years removed from ice skating, because for the past few days, I have been unable to cross my legs, take a turn in bed, or walk without bowed legs. My skating days may be over, certainly fewer. And I could not do any tailoring if I ever had to or ever would this week…or any week for that matter.