You’ve been working out hard, and now your hip is killing you. No matter how many times you perform the “couch stretch”, you can still feel a nagging tightness and ache in the front of your hip. It might even be radiating to the back of your hip into your glutes. Ugh, what a pain in the ass!
The Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL) is a small muscle which attaches inferiorly to the long thick strip of fascia, known as the iliotibial band (ITBand). This muscle performs Hip abduction and flexes the hip (which we do all the time). To make matters worse, you engage this muscle when you perform the common exercise of: putting one foot in front of the other– a.k.a. walking!
Let’s back up a second, how do you know if it is you TFL thats bugging you? Well the easiest way to figure it out is simply pure awareness. If you know this thing exists, you can stretch and release it and see if it releases. But, sometimes it won’t release right away or maybe you just need more proof to justify taking action, so, here’s a few signs it’s your TFL causing you the hip distress:
If you have:
- Outer hip pain
- Referral pain down the outside of the thigh
- Pain when laying down on the tender side
- Weight bearing on one side is more painful
- Pain upon fast walking
- Pain when standing and keeping your pelvis level
Great, so now you know, here’s what you do:
1. TFL Stretching
2. TFL Trigger Point Therapy
Get in to see a sports massage therapist trained and licensed in this specific treatment concerning your tensor fasciae latae pain. You can also try releasing this on your own by laying the bad side on a tennis ball under the TFL moving the ball until your painful and sensitive spot is apparent. This may send pain down your leg, just stick with it. Maintain the pressure of the ball for 10 to 15 seconds until tenderness subsides. It is normally recommended that you only do this two times in the beginning every 2 to 3 days. After this type of therapy, you might be slightly sensitive and sore for a day or two—and then it magically goes away!
3. TFL Strengthening
It’s important to correct the imbalances of your stressed out TFL. For example, if your right TFL is tight and sore, you may want to release it and then start strengthening the opposite (Left TFL) to promote a more balanced posture.
While most muscular pain and imbalances can go away on their own, it is still important to address the issues because the temporary adaptation to the hip pain could put your hip in a vulnerable condition and cause serious injury later. If these tips don’t work, you should visit a Sports Medicine Doctor, Orthopedic Doctor or just get a referral from your PCP for Physical Therapy.
Now we want to hear from you. What tips/tricks do you use to release your TFL?