Patient: I am a 24 yr. old female in generally good health. I was in a car accident in 2007 where my knee went into the dash of the car I was a passenger in. I had to have arthroscopic surgery with lateral release. I am fully recovered and want to get back into being active again. Before the accident I was a VERY active person. Well, I’ve decided to take up a martial art such as karate or kung fu but need to be able to do the splits. I could do the splits when I was younger but one day a friend thought it would be funny to leapfrog over me and push me into them. I didn’t see my friend coming so when I felt someone jump on me my natural instinct was to resist the force and I felt and awful tear in my right leg…like velcro, I guess. Immediately I had pain and swelling and the next day my entire thigh was black and blue from knee to crotch. It was bruised for almost a month and I walked funny for a long time. I think I pulled or tore my Gracilis or Adductor but I never went to a doctor for the injury. After that I have not been able to stretch the muscle very far at all without pain. It’s had years to heal but it still feels like I’m going to hurt it again whenever I stretch it. Should I keep trying to stretch it?
Doctor: Yes, and it is very important that you keep doing so. You may begin with gentle stretching exercises and alternate with strengthening ones, remember the pain will let you know if you are going too far not being fully prepared yet. When practicing a consistent exercise routine, progressively, you will be able to improve flexibility and stretching of that muscle that once was injured, healed by itself with probably scar tissue in it, which is less flexible that the regular muscle fibers and never received physical therapy.