How’s Your Tenderloin?

A Right psoas (hip flexor) from front view.
A Right psoas (hip flexor) from front view.

A key structure for a healthy and efficient low back, pelvis and hip and lower extremity is a muscle called the psoas (pronounced soh-uhs). This muscle forms a strut of support or a pillar at the front of your lumbar spine (low back) on each side, right and left. In slang terms, this is your tenderloin. It actually attaches (originates) at the front and sides of your vertebrae and discs, behind your abdominal contents and inserts (it’s lower attachment at the other end) onto the inner high point of your femur (thigh bone). When you climb stairs or run, it acts on lifting your femur or knee toward your chest (hip flexion). When you push off at the end of your stride, it is fully lengthened (if it can) to allow your hip to extend. It also works to support and stabilize your lumbar spine over the span of the column as well as at individual segments.Whether you have pain or not, you likely have dysfunction in this area that is limiting the efficiency of your walking, running, cycling, or swimming. It many people it is tight, restricted in its muscle play (see previous blog entry about muscle play), and often weak and uncoordinated. An article link at the bottom of this entry provides additional information and further describes the problems this muscle can have and cause. Stretching may be helpful, but works better to maintain once the psoas is fixed. The best way to correct the problem is with manual treatment by one of our physical therapists. With our hands and proper position of your body we can localize the exact location of restriction and treat it with skilled manual pressure and/or incorporate trigger point dry needling to the affected muscle for a more rapid and thorough change. This is then followed with manual resistance methods such as proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) to your lumbar area, pelvis, and hips to restore function and normal walking and running gait.

Call us and set up an appointment in Pewaukee (262-695-3057) or Downtown Milwaukee (414-224-8219) to get an assessment and have 3-6 sessions of treatment to mobilize your psoas or other issues.

Check out this recent article from Running Times regarding the psoas!

bodymechanics locations

807 N. Jefferson
Milwaukee, WI 53202  (map)

1177 Quail Court | Suite 200
Pewaukee, WI 53072  (map)