TFL: A Complex Muscle

TFL IT (1)

The TFL (tensor fasciae latae) is a very complex muscle that is not always given enough attention in rehab and training prep. For those of you who have experienced pain anywhere from the side of your hip, down the side of your thigh, and/or the outside of your knee cap; your TFL may be a contributing factor.

What does the TFL do?

The TFL has many functions but is the main contributor for stabilizing your hip when standing on one leg and driving your hip forward while walking/running. Keeping your TFL loose and strong is essential for proper mechanics when walking, running, or doing any type of weightlifting/exercise.

Why am I having TFL issues?

The TFL often becomes an issue for people because of where it attaches. As a hip flexor, the muscle can become very tight and restricted due to poor sitting posture. Since many of us spend a lot of time sitting while at work, the TFL stays in a shortened position for most of the day and eventually becomes too restricted. This results in limited hip mobility and leads to weakness in your glutes because your hip is unable to extend the way that it should. In addition, the TFL directly attaches to your IT band; so if your TFL is tight and not functioning properly, your IT band will also become tight and restricted.

How to find relief:

To correct this, it will be important to perform releases or foam rolling techniques to the TFL itself (Exercise TFL Release ) before exercises. After the releases, you will want to perform exercises (Exercise) that focus on glute strengthening and overall hip stability. The overall goal here is to release the tension in your TFL so that your glutes can work properly; that way the TFL and your glutes can work together to stabilize your hip!