What is a Tensor Fasciae Latae and Why does Mine Hurt?

| May 6, 2010 | 144 Comments

Tensor Fasciae Latae MuscleI recently had the dubious pleasure of discovering a new muscle in my body. The muscle is called the Tensor Fasciae Latae. This lovely little muscle is located in the hip area. If you haven’t discovered yours, count yourself lucky.

How I discovered My Tensor Fasciae Latae

I started running again. I decided to get up from the computer and get out running. I had been sedentary for the last couple of months so I thought it was time to get things back on track so I went for a 1 mile run followed by a 1 mile walk. I felt great. I came home and stretched and all was right with the world, or at least I thought all was right with the world.

As the day wore on I noticed some pain around the hip area. It hurt when I walked, moved in certain ways and it also hurt to the touch. For a quick moment, I wondered if this was the beginning signs of osteoporosis and the need for hip replacement surgery (I’m not really a hypochondriac, but my brother just had his hip replaced so the thought was on my mind). Then I thought about it for a moment, since it was painful to the touch; that meant muscle pain…whew!

Because of my advancing years, I decided to rest a day before the next run. I ran the same distance and later in the day the pain was even worse. Not being one to give in, I rested another day and ran a third time. This time the pain was so bad, there was no way that one day of rest would be enough for me to run again.

Calling it Quits

I decided to call it quits until I got in chiropractic adjustment. I assumed that I was out of alignment thus causing my lop sided hip pain. I explained the problem to my chiropractor and he basically gave me a stretching exercise, told me to stop being a wuss and get out there and run. So after he adjusted me, I went running the next day.

Excruciating Hip PainThe Inflammation Syndrome

That running advice was bad advice. The pain was so bad that I had to pull out the ibuprofen (I don’t like taking medicine). I assumed the muscle was inflamed so along with the ibuprofen I ate anti-inflammatory foods and walked around with ice in my hip pocket, 20 minutes on, and 20 minutes off. I did that for the remainder of the day.

Time to Find the Root of the Problem

I decided to find out what was causing the problem and address it head on. That’s when I discovered that the offending muscle is called the Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL). It’s a neat little muscle located just on the outside of the hip. The muscle engages when you put one foot in front of the other. Here’s a better explanation of what the Tensor Fasciae Late muscle does and how it works.

After finding out what the TFL does and how it works, I found this article that explained why mine hurt so bad and how I caused it to hurt.  One of the causes is an increase in mileage or physical activity. So I guess when you go from sitting on your rear end to running a mile that’s a marked increase in physical activity. Other contributing factors can include (but are not limited to) a leg imbalance, sedentary lifestyle, being out of shape, uneven muscle development or just plain old getting older. What ever the reason, my TFL is a little pissed off.TFL

Fixing the Problem

From what I’ve read, the first thing to do is to stop the acute pain (that’s a no brainer). No one likes to be in pain.

Once the pain has subsided, stretching the muscle is a good idea. There are a few stretching exercises that I came across that seem to target the Tensor Fasciae Latae muscle. It involves standing straight and crossing the leg of the non affected hip over the leg of the affected hip (balance yourself first), then lean to the side of the non affected hip. This helps to stretch the FTL. I’ve been doing this several times a day (even though I’m still in the pain stage).

It appears that the next step is to condition and strengthen the appropriate muscles. I’m still a little fuzzy on how to do this. I’m looking at a few sites that have interesting exercises to help rectify my FTL problem.

In the meanwhile I’ve taken to biking instead. I’m still working on reducing the inflammation and pain (pedaling doesn’t seem to bother the TFL) in preparation for the next step.

If anyone has sound advice on how to recover from an angry TFL, I’d love to hear it.

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Category: Aging, As We Age, Fitness, Injuries, Running, Tensor Fasciae Latae

About the Author ()

Felicia has learned the hard way that health, whether good or bad, is a result of daily choices and habits. On this blog Felicia shares what she's learned and the healthier choices she now makes as a result of her new knowledge. She hopes to encourage others to experiment to find alternative solutions to nagging problems (she's also is a bit of a tree hugger and likes to share ways to lighten the toxic burden on the environment). Necessary disclaimer: I am not a medical professional therefore I am not and cannot giving medical advice. I'm just sharing my story.

Comments (144)

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  1. TimU says:

    I’m an avid bowler and I injured my TFL during a tournament a few weeks ago. I’ve tried the stretches, exercises, ice, ointments and anti-inflammatories and still have the pain. I’m curious if an injection would help for the pain so I can continue to bowl.

    • Felicia says:

      Tim, I’m not very familiar with medical injections. I’m sure a doctor will find something that will alleviate the pain so you can bowl. The problem with injections is sometimes the side effects are worse than the original injury.

      • TimU says:

        I had a few injections and the pain subsided for a few days but now my lower leg and foot feels like they’re asleep all of the time. I’m trying to do some research on the side effects. I hope it’s not nerve issues too. Curious

  2. Samir says:

    I want to thank everyone for their comments here. I’m not a runner. In fact, I don’t do any regular exercise, but I never had a pain like I did a few days ago. After I sat on the ground to do some work. I thought I just needed some stretching as it felt like a burn/tear. So I did. Bad mistake. Just an hour later, I could no longer walk, sleep, or sit without severe pain.

    After reading and researching, I discovered I had damaged my TFL. Made sense too since I had been mostly sitting and working for the last few days and not been standing regularly–really bad for the TFL.

    Luckily, I had pain like this once before in my shoulder, and the cure was immobilization so it could heal. But immobilizing the TFL was a whole new challenge. After two days, I finally figured out a position in bed where I could sleep for 1-2hrs at a time, and thanks to my normal high protein diet full of omega 3s, the next morning I could actually feel the repairs done overnight by my body. Last night I felt even more repair.

    But even with the repair, just one torsional movement and the pain would strike, damaging some of the repair in the process. But that was finally addressed earlier today with the arrival of the Neo G groin support recommended in the comments. It has reduced accidental torsional movements by 90%, and I think I’ll even have the ability to walk normally by tomorrow morning. Thank you!! And for anyone looking to buy one, buying from Amazon was the fastest and cheapest way to get one since they could ship it overnight for less than just the cost of it from anywhere else.

    I’ve never felt pain like this before, but I’m happy to know that there are others who have dealt with it and were nice enough to pass on the knowledge of how to heal faster. Thank you all so much.

    • Felicia says:

      Samir, thanks for sharing your journey. I’m happy to hear that the Neo G groin support worked for you. It’s good to read a first-hand successful resolution for healing TFL pain. If my TFL ever acts up again, I’ll make sure to pick one up (I’ve added the Amazon link to the item for quick access).

  3. Robin Aufhammer says:

    PS. I am still doing mild physical therapy excersizes, mild walks, stretching, while I wear the wrap. Doesn’t seem to irritate my TFL. Also as with my SI belt instructions from my Pain Dr, I will be wearing it when I excersize, hike, run, etc in the future. I wear it under all clothing. Non irritating. Hope this is really helpful to others!!!


    • Felicia says:

      Wow, Thanks for the update. I’ll look into it to see what it’s all about.

      Glad it’s working for you.

      • Robin Aufhammer says:

        I just looked the thigh/groin support up on the web site and it is 888B. Thigh groin support. It wraps around your low waist and top of thigh. Good because it doesn’t slip down your leg. I’m still feeling a bit of a twing after day 5 but definitely much better. It may take a few weeks to heal.


      • Pam Lawrence says:

        I have had constant TFL pain for over 2 years now. Four orthopedics, 6 cortisone shots, and 1 inter-joint cortisone shot have not helped. PT (x2 rounds), daily stretching exercises, and 3x weekly workouts at the gym have given no significant relief. Has anyone had a surgical TFL; does the procedure even help? I am a 69 year old, once athletic woman at wits end!

        • Felicia says:

          Sorry to hear about your struggles, Pam. Sounds like you aggressively went about resolving your TFL paing. Hopefully someone with surgical TFL experience can answer your question.

          For me, I found extended rest resolved my issue. I chose exercises that barely engaged my injured/painful muscles. Over time it seemed to have resolved itself.

          • Robin says:

            I posted a few months ago about the neoprene thigh wrap that I was using for my TFL problem. Here is my current update. It worked really well!! I ended up wearing it mostly at night because that was when I would cramp up, and with excersize. I am pretty much over my TFL!! Yea!!!! I did have a very mild flare up, went to my chiropractor and had some therapeutic ultrasound in the upper thigh, and he really worked on my tight glutes. That was several weeks ago, and I’m still doing well. Walking and doing mild excersize without the wrap. No pain at night. So happy! I hope others do try the wrap and maybe find a sports oriented chiropractor.

          • Felicia says:

            Robin, thanks for coming back and giving us an update. I’m so glad that the wrap worked for you. Maybe it will help other readers too.

          • Pam Lawrence says:

            I’m 2 1/2 weeks post surgery and recovery is slow, but the pain is gone. Now I am rebuilding and strengthening. The surgeon removed a very large and inflamed bursa that was not going to quit “the fight” without his help. A diamond cut in the fascia lengthened the tendon to prevent further aggravation. PT is the key at this point; rest was no longer an option.

          • Felicia says:

            Pam, so sorry you had to undergo surgery, but I’m happy that it resolved the issue.

            Ugh, gotta love PT! 🙂 I wish you a speedy recovery!

  4. Robin Aufhammer says:

    I would like to update all who read this on my TFL inflammation, strain, whatever!! I tried everything and was about to get expensive acupuncture when I happened upon a web site for a thigh wrap for thigh strains, TFL inflammation. I ordered it! One size fits all which is good, a little hard to put on since the velcro attaches in the back (think contortionist), but low and behold after 2 days of wearing it, I am so much better!! Not quite gone yet but no limping all morning and the TFL seems to be healing. To date I have been wearing it 4 days and will probably continue for a week or two, then wean off of it. I decided to try this because I have an SI belt for when I strain my SI joints, and it works, so I thought, why not try this. So if anyone else wants to try it it’s called Neo G Groin Support and I ordered it on Amazon. The web site on the box is Neo-g.com. I am not doing anything else. No rolling on balls or deep tissue massages because this is working so well. Not even on anti inflammitories!!! I would recommend it to try. Couldn’t hurt!


  5. Robin Aufhammer says:

    I agree with all of the advice about dealing with this anoying TFL inflammation. I find massage, anti inflammitories, topical menthol type cream, resting it, stretching it, ice, muscle stim, and muscle relaxant med at night as that is when it tightens up. Even with all this, it’s taking its sweet time to calm down! May try acupuncture next. I have had other inflammations helped by this method when all else fails!


    • Felicia says:

      Sounds like you have the right protocol for healing your TFL. I didn’t try acupuncture when my TFL flared up, but I wish I did. Good luck with it.

    • Mary says:

      I’ve been reading all the comments on your thread and the length of time you’ve dealt with this pain is incredible. I am a letter carrier so I have no shortage of exercise especially with the Amazon contract! I’m no stranger to pain as I have si joint issues, compression fractures of the spine, osteoarthritis, lupus, fibro, etc, etc. I go to pain mgmt and am prescribed opiates for pain. They don’t touch this tfl pain. Pain mgmt gave me muscle relaxer which also does nothing. I am 63 and cannot retire. Stairs are especially deadly and everyone who orders online has stairs! Lol

      • Felicia says:

        Ouch, Mary. I’m so sorry for your assorted ailments.

        I guess the good thing is you’re up and around and walking daily. As odd as this might sound, I truly believe the root of much of our chronic pain stems from our diets. Years and years of eating the the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) whether you’re in America or not leads to things like fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, si issues and on and on. Over the last 10 years I’ve made small but steady changes in my diet and many of my prior ailments have subsided. It’s not a quick fix, but maybe you should look into it. Folks like Dr. Mercola, Mark Sisson, Joe Cross, Andrew Saul, to name a few might offer advice. Search them out on Google.

        Good luck to you.

        BTW, gotta love those Amazon deliveries. 🙂

      • Robin Aufhammer says:

        You sound like you have many issues!! I also have SI joint problems and TFL muscle strain. My pain Dr gave me an SI belt that I wear when I am active. He also said that if I keep having problems with that I would be a good candidate for Stem Cell therapy to restore my healthy SI joint tissue. Still contemplating that one as it is expensive!! For my TFL strain, I used a neoprene thigh wrap that worked amazingly well! I wore all the time for a few weeks, them at night for a few more weeks. It helped immensely so what ever else you are trying I highly recommend the wrap! It seemed to calm it down and helped heal it. It’s on Amazon and called Neo G groin support. Wear it next to your skin.

  6. Sebastian says:

    I injured this muscle playing soccer. Over the years of playing A few times I felt this muscle become tender when kicking the ball, but not much. This weekend I took a shot but sadly I hit the ground first.. I felt a crackle and pain. Had to leave the game. It hurts, I’ll rest it out and hope it recovers soon 🙁

    • Felicia says:

      Ouch! I believe rest is the first line of defense for such injuries. I’m no expert, but anti-inflammatories may help also. Hope it heals soon.

  7. Rachel says:

    Having had TFL problems myself and encountered it frequently as a massage therapist, i both loath and respect this muscle! Your info was awesome, thanks. Complete recovery is aided also by aggressive dry needling throughout hip muscles, cross fibre friction to the TFL, lots of ITB work, and regular ultrasound treatment using a home ultrasound wand. Dry needling is becoming more widely used here in Australia and it cam give amazing results. Cheers!

  8. Zach says:

    I think i have the same issue. I am normally a very active person, running long distances but took time off over the pasty year due to other injuries. I recently started running again and noticed that got a similar pain in my hip about a mile or so into my runs. When i finish running the acute pain is gone but if i make sudden movements it feels as if my hip gives out and I feel a shap pain.ive been trying to stretch it out for weeks now and it just doesnt seem to want to get better

  9. Martin says:

    I’m another 50 something getting back into running, after a long lay off (27 years). I stopped running as a boy, because of a knee injury playing football, and did other things like recreational cycling instead. It’s been going well, in four months got my Parkrun 5k down from 25 mins to 22:21.My most painful injury so far has been IT band, which has just stopped me running for two weeks, but I have cross trained every other day with the pain easing each day.

    Just today, in looking into IT band injuries, I ‘discovered’ the TFL and found this site, as well. Reading today it dawned on me how I have been experiencing pain at the front of my left hip, on and off since I restarted running, and that my quad stretch wasn’t getting to it. I kind of ignored it, because it seemed to go away as quickly as it came, it never seemed to stop me running, and I just thought of it as slight annoyance. BUT this pain was my TFL which I’d managed to leave unstretched in my stretching routine, which was semi injured and tight, and with hard runs got tighter and tighter, until it was pulling my IT band into my knee, progressively worsening until I had to stop running, and really address the problem.

    So far my research has revealed only one stretching exercise, which I knew had hit the spot immediately, as I felt the TFL protest immediately. It’s this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x30rjVT-TLo. Just the first exercise seems to hit the spot. Will do the others as this becomes more comfortable. I have also decided to add the yoga Pigeon Pose, which seems to hit the hips from the opposite direction, i.e. glutes and surrounding hip muscles, and that other little sometimes troublesome small muscle beneath the glutes, the pirirformis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_zPqA65Nok

    I am also starting a glute and hip strength routine with sandbag (as functional exercises also engage the core), which also seems to hit the spot, particularly my glutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=65&v=Olc_uq5VtGU.

    These, will I hope get me running hard again, and help me achieve my aim of getting my 5k down to near to 21 mins, this year.

    • Martin says:

      Just another thought, this time on running form. I’ve found an article that revealed that the gluteus medius should be responsible for stabilising the hip, but that if it is weak or not used in running, then this imposes extra strain on the tensor fasciae latae, leading to IT band injury.

      The web page is titled “Your IT Band is Not the Enemy (But Maybe Your Foam Roller Is)”: http://breakingmuscle.com/mobility-recovery/your-it-band-is-not-the-enemy-but-maybe-your-foam-roller-is.
      I have started some glute strengthening, and so with some residual soreness in this region, which highlighted my use of this muscle (or muscles, as there are two, one for each leg), ran an easy run, with mild IT band pain. When I started to concentrate on using the gluteous medius (or ‘glute med’ as the article called it). I could feel the pain start to reduce.

      If you locate your left TFL with your left thumb, the glute med can be felt by the fingers on the back of the hip. If you lie on your side and put the upper leg behind the lower leg, then lift, you can feel the glute med contract. This is the muscle that you need to be using when you run.

      The article I linked to explains it all well. Incidentally I agree that rolling your IT band might be counter productive, as are many recommended IT band stretches (the IT band cannot be stretched, only the muscles that attach to it).

    • Tracie says:

      I have been dealing with this for 5 years and have tried everything. Nothing works. I am tired of throwing money at it with little or no relief, it’s very frustrating. I have gone from cycling 80 miles a week to sitting on the couch. Good luck


  10. Saurabh says:

    This is an extremely good article for this specific injury. I am a squash player and played competitive circuit during high school. Am now 35 and have started the game again a couple of years ago, leading to a gap of nearly 15 years. Since last one year I have been facing this pain while playing and the situation is slightly tricky. The pain happens on certain days and is excruciating at the time, severely hampering my movement and retrieving. It is sometimes so bad that I can barely walk. However, 10 minutes after the game, the pain is gone.. like it never existed. This may be due to the fact that I have a desk job and long hours of sitting makes the muscle weak. Have tried various stretches, ice packs, etc. but the pain keeps resurfacing.
    I would be really grateful if you have any suggestions.

    • Felicia says:

      Saurabh, welcome to the blog. I’m not a medical professional, so I hesitate to give advice. The fact that the pain goes away 10 minutes after the game is puzzling.

      Maybe you should slow things down a bit. After all, it’s been 15 years since you’ve played. Maybe your trying to recapture the you of 15 years ago too quickly. Believe me, I know what that’s like. Like you said, you have a sedentary job and your muscles are not as strong as they once were. Maybe you should slowly rebuilding your muscle strength and continue stretching and icing. If it continues, you might want to seek professional help before you cause damage that will take longer to repair.

      Good luck and let us know how it goes.

  11. Dixie Lee says:

    I started walking about 3 months ago. No problems. Then I was helping my mother in law do some spring cleaning and reached up and felt something pull in my thigh. Didn’t want to let on that I was in pain so I kept going. Not one for telling anyone that I have a pain. But the next day I could hardly move my leg. Went to the doctor and after some test I had a small tear in my TFL. Said with some physical therapy that in a month I could resume my daily 5 mile walks. ????

    • Felicia says:

      Ouch! Sorry to hear about the tear in your TFL. Your doctor is better qualified to diagnose and prescribe a course of action than I can. I’m just hoping you allow it to heal before taxing it with physical therapy.
      Fortunately, walking is less taxing than running and you may be able to resume your walks in a month. Let us know how it progresses.

  12. Tony says:

    WOW – amazed at the number of people with this pain. Looking at a lot of the age groups it seems there could be a link to the meat sack getting older…???? I am mid 40’s and have recently developed this pain, it started on my right and the pain when I walked was speratic, not 100% on cause but it seemed to be the day after I did any hip flexor stretch. I initially felt the pain when i walked, and I seemed it was the hip socket not the tfl. I prodded where I thought it was and nothing, I started thinking it was osteoporosis etc… But then I thought I’m not that old, am I? I think it was the kids jumping on me that redirected my focus to the actual location of the pain, the tfl… Now I knew where it was hurting, it was time to treat it… Ok I had no idea how this happened apart from possibly a little hip flexor stretching – but this seemed unlikely. Went to physio for it & am still seeing him for both sides… This time it may well be caused by walking lunges and my anterior pelvic tilt. So, stretching, treatment and exercising is king, just not the wrong mix. Sound simplistic but its that simple, unfortunately that mix is different for everyone. Will keep you posted….

    • Felicia says:

      I’m not so sure its age related because we’ve got a few very young folks with the same issue. I found stretching and finding alternative exercises worked for me. Do keep us posted.

  13. Lara says:

    I have same pain in right hip because of skeletal imbalance. My right hip is slightly tilted down.
    Only started bothering me 2 years into jogging/biking/hiking Now I bike, jog maybe a mile, and bootcamps. Bummer because I enjoyed long summer runs. Now they are run/walks.

  14. Diane moore says:

    I hear you sister! I found my TFL when I had that odd hip pain and “couldn’t quite reach” the spot. Then I did! Whoa! Hit the spot and pain shot through me. I discovered that massaging that little devil and crossed leg stretches immediately reduce the pain. It hurts to massage it , and it’s a crazy position to reach it, but I’m so thankful I did! I massage it pretty hard and it’s a miracle worker. Sitting and reading in bed is the trigger for me. Good luck!

  15. Jay C. Levine says:

    I have had a similar problem in both legs since the age of 14. I saw orthopedic doctors and I was told as long as I could stand the pain I could continue in athletic activities. I was also given morphine for the pain, but decided I did not want to get addicted to pain medications so stopped taking them. I was very active in sports and often I would have to use traction afterwards to stretch the muscles which would allow me to walk normally again. Besides the pain, my legs would what I call lock or not allow normal movement. I continued to be very active in sports until I turned 30, but now I have curtailed my activities and suffer rarely from high pain. I am 66. I don’t know if you have similar pain, but it is the same area as yours. Good luck.

    • Felicia says:

      I’m amazed at how many of us have suffered from the same type of pain. Fortunately, mine hasn’t bothered me for a year or two. Wish I could say the same for sciatica.

  16. Dave says:

    I am 56 years old and in great shape. I had a misdiagnosed injury (Gilmore’s groin) that kept me out of the gym from 26 – 51 years old. I noticed in my 40’s that my legs would feel “old” and simple occasional stretching would help immensely. After I started working out again I started pushing it and would lift weights and burn 400 cal. in 35 min. on the elliptical machine right afterwards. I had to take the better part of 3 months off recently and could not get going on the elliptical machine as my legs just plain hurt. I started to worry because stretching no longer cured the problem. I rolled on my foam roller for 20 seconds on both TFL’s this morning and the pain in my TFL’s, abductors and adductors vanished. Tight TFL’s causing a muscle imbalance. Thank you God!

  17. Steve says:

    Last week I experienced tightness in my TFL…first time for that. Then in a 24 hour period, while camping, I experienced a tearing of the TFL on four separate occasions. What it the best way to rehab this muscle and prevent the tightness in the future?

  18. Collin says:

    Re the TFL. I’m 60 and have pursued various treatments including A.R.T. active release therapy. Nothing has worked so far but I am now seeing a sports physiotherapist who tells me that the ball at the top of my leg is riding just a bit too high in the socket. So for treatment he has been softening the muscle with electrolysis electrodes and then instructs me to hold on to the treatment bed while he pulls my leg down and away with multiple jerks from the socket in my hip. He then gives me classic TFL stretch excersises and also instructs me to shake my leg down as if I have a clump of wet clay on my shoe sole and want it to flick off. Have only had two treatments and there does appear to be some improvement. My big question though, is, will the leg eventually continue to return to the high spot in the socket and invoke chronic TFL pain? I guess time will tell.

  19. jacbec says:

    I am 79 and for a couple of years had been going on long walks (up to 10-13 miles, average about 6 mi) several times a week. Last year I was less active and one day in Oct felt a pain in my left thigh area as I was walking that severely impeded my walking. I had been having lower back pain for several years and it felt like much of the pain descended to my left upper thigh whenever I walked (especially up hill) or climbed stairs. It is also uncomfortable lying on my left sideGoing down stairs was OK. Riding a stationary bike or walking on an Eliptical doesn’t seem to bother me. I can manage to walk a couple of miles with some pain and a noticeable limping gate.

    I saw an Orthopedist who had X-rays taken but didn’t show much except some mild arthritis in my left hip joint. I went to PT for a few weeks and learned about the TFL muscle. Massaging the TFL gives me temporary relief. I am also doing some stretching exercises and a step exercise on a 4″ step. I don’t seem to be getting any better, but maybe I am not giving it enough time. It has been 3 months now and I would like to get beyond short 2 mile limping walks and be able to run up and down the stairs.

    • Felicia says:

      Jacbec, sorry to hear about your injury. If the problem is TFL, you’ll need to rest it quite a bit (at least from my experience). My original post was written about 4 years ago. Back then I actually gave up running and long walks and took up biking instead. Many months later when I tried running again, my TFL was fine and has not flared up since then.

  20. Giles Hinchcliffe says:

    I would buy it – its marvellous. You will need a tennis ball for the self massage. Your ‘sciatic’ problems could be a tight piriformis muscle which the tennis ball will quickly release. Also look for trigger points in your gluteus medius and minimus. Good luck.

  21. Giles Hinchcliffe says:

    I would be tempted to look for trigger points. I am a regular racquets player aged 66 abd have just picked up this problem. I like the cooked spaghetti description that Gail mentioned and TPs are like that. My bible is ‘The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, by Clair Davies. It is a brilliantly written, easy to read book covering problems in all muscles. Thanks for the article Felicia.

    • Felicia says:

      Trigger Point Therapy sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out and read a few of the reviews. Not so sure I’ll buy the book at this point, but it sounds like it is worth investigating.

  22. Gail says:

    I finally found complete relief after going to a physical therapist who specialized in ASTYM (pronounced a-stim) (see astym.com) He described normal muscle tissue like uncooked spaghetti – straight and lined up. Then he described the spots that hurt like cooked spaghetti, all jumbled and tangled and knotted. In ASTYM therapy, they gently realign and straighten the muscle tissue again. I had hurt for years and now I’m virturally pain free. However, only go to a physical therapist who is certified in ASTYM. I hope this will help all of you.

  23. marius moldovan says:

    hi!i am a soccer player and i have this problem for almost an year now!wat happened is that i took a shoot without streching out and i felt the horrible pain…and after that i got injured like 4 times again in every week….i have this horrible pain for an year now…i dont know wat to do…i cant play soccer or kick the ball!:(

  24. Inge Van Bruystegem says:

    hello, I am a dancer who sometimes runs and i am constantly fighting on and of with the TFL.
    I seem to feel it is also linked with ‘holding your body in tension’ in other words ‘stress’.
    the running will not help it much i guess, but i am working on trying to run without excess lateral tension, and to keep it ‘straight’ ‘forward moving’ focusing on the hamstring and release in the front of the hips, and moving from the ‘belly’ as I run. I stretch a lot and try to find the really ‘icky’ places and find out by meditating on them what they mean and if i can, release them deeply, through breathing. I have also realized that i held on to the TFL tension in my sleep.
    I think the answer is all, definitely exercise, stretch AND massage, try to work all the muscles harmoniously not forgetting to stretch the more difficult ones. the ones, besides the usual after running stretches i find helpful for overall balance and ‘unstressing the leg’ are these :
    put on leg on the back of a bench or something, try to stand really tall straight and grounded.
    then rotate the hips towards the leg that’s up and move the trunk diagonally forward towards the leg (this helps to get the feel of the stretch, but afterwards you can find it just putting the leg up and executing the twist) You will find a deep stretch that stretches the whole outside line of of the leg on the bench, keep it for one minute, breathing into it. in fact you should keep all your stretches for one minute if you want any lasting effect!!
    2. put the knee on the ground or the bench and launch forwards the other leg, let the hips sink in so you can stretch the psoas and the front of the hips, you can pull on the foot behind you for extra thigh stretch
    3. sit and lay your knees on top of each other, your right foot ending up next to the left hip and the left by the right. most peoples knees will not touch (mine do…) sit up straight. this is the best relaxing stretching position for the TFL for me… STAY AT LEAST ONE MINUTE
    so but mainly work on yourself, on the general flow of your well being through your body, and try observe what unnecessary tension you walk or sit with, (i tend to tense the TFL while sitting and driving, you can undo it!!), meditate on it a little, putting the held tensions to better usage…

    • Felicia says:

      Inge, I agree with you. We tend to adapt muscle to tension as a result of unrealized stress. It seems that sciatica has replaced my TFL issues. I believe they’re both caused by the same problem.

      Recently my sister-in-law sent me a yoga DVD. It’s a beginners DVD that contains a 20 minute routine. The poses are gentle and held for a limited amount of time. It’s great for people like me who have never practiced yoga (aka stiff as a board).

      What I’ve found since using the routine diligently every day, my sciatica tension is getting better. I used to feel it the moment I bent over the sink to brush my teeth, but now I no longer feel the tension down my leg. I believe the gentle stretching and relaxing yoga moves are doing much to improve my condition. Since it’s only a 20 minute routine, I make sure to wake up 20 minutes earlier to get it into my day.

      Some of your recommended moves are similar to those found on the DVD.

  25. Tony says:

    I had this problem with overdeveloped Tensor fasciae on both hips. I stretched out the right in 1979- difficult stretch. Next day suffered nausea, collapse and extreme pain. Still working on reduction of left TF. The resulting tension on my left side caused several hospitalisations, Including disturbances in left ear pressure irregularities leading to severe vertigo. After stretching for 20 years, finally experiencing incredible mobility in left hip, I can walk up stairs and utilise left glutes in the process. The overdeveloped TF made me a really strong biker but a short stride somewhat heavy legged runner. I believe my propensity for this specific overdeveloped muscles was genetic. Good luck to anyone with this problem. Keep exercising it helps. Avoid surgery if possible.

  26. Bill says:

    I can’t believe it took me a couple years to find this post and find out what a Tensor Fasciae Latae is! I have been to my primary care doctor a couple times in the last 6 months and he said to just take some pain reliever. No other recommendations. I get this annoying pain on my left side mostly when sitting down (anywhere from driving to sitting at work all day). Its happening alot more often in the last couple weeks. I ran two half marathons in a 6 month period back in 2011 without much training. It all makes sense now when I saw this is a runner type injury. Im going to try doing the things in this article to help make my pain go away. What are the best things to do to make this go away sooner than later. thanks for all your input. hopefully everyone’s suggestions work for me.

    • Felicia says:

      Glad you found this post, Bill. It was written a few years ago, but the comments are pretty recent. I’m not sure which remedy (if any) will work for you. I haven’t suffered with TFL pain in quite some time so I’m not so sure I can give you accurate advice. Your best bet is to read through the comments.

      Good luck with resolving your TFL problem.

  27. Laura says:

    I’m sure others have posted something similar to what I’m about to say but I just want to share that there is hope!
    I have been battling this issue for the past year and a half. The pain where the TFL and it band come together at the crest of my hip was so painful – walking up and down stairs even hurt!

    I went through all of the channels – orthopedic – PT etc. and in the end they all shrugged their shoulders when I wasn’t better. The Ortho’s advice was to administer injections. That is not the answer!

    So I recently threw my back out and my primary care sent me to a SPORTS Chiroprator. His insight is amazing and he has an amazing medical massage therapist on staff! They have given me hope! I have strengthening exercises for my gluteus and stretches for my IT band with rolling on foam roller. The massage therapist gets into my fibers to wake them up and try to promote blood flow throughout my it band – very painful but I’m really starting to see results! The pain is subsiding :-).

    The treatment will probably take 6 months to a year but I now have the tools to continue strengthening and stretching my ailments.

    The dr. Who I see is Dr. Lukosus in Naperville, Il. Check him out and see if you can find someone comparable to him in your area. On a side note, he recently spoke at a conference in Denver on this topic!

    So best of luck to all suffers! Know there are many others in your situation but it will get better 🙂

  28. Daphne says:

    Hi all,

    I recently started running regularly after about 10 years off (not including sporadic elliptical workouts). The first couple of weeks went very well, but my thigh muscles were always quite sore since I was doing a lot of uphill running and I wasn’t taking days off. I figured I should stretch more and started doing some yoga exercises geared toward runners. As soon as I started this, I experienced the TFL pain you are describing in both hips (equal pain, started at the same time in both). I have also come very close to twisting my ankle multiple times since I started the yoga exercises (this is not uncommon for me, but it is happening much more often now).

    It does certainly seem as if the additional stretching caused the problem when combined with running. I feel as if the tenseness in those muscles held my hips/knees/ankles together (if that makes sense) – after stretching them, there is too much flexibility, allowing the joints to move out of place or move abnormally. Of course with running, the movement is repetitive so this would eventually aggravate the muscles surrounding that area. Between work and school, I have spent 8-12 hours per day in front of a computer for many years and definitely agree that the body will “rebel” when we make drastic changes to the way we move our bodies.

    This is new to me so I will experiment with different combinations of stretches, running, and rest to see what works. It could just be a reaction to something new that goes away with time. Just thought I’d throw my experience into the mix here and see if anyone has any tips for me. Oh, also, I am 26 so I don’t think age is a factor. I still have arches & use arch support, and as far as I know my legs are the same length, although my feet are slightly different sizes.

    • Daphne says:

      So I took some time off, got some new (amazing) running shoes and switched up the yoga regime (much less focus on the legs, no longer doing yoga for runners). Problem has gone away completely. I think a lot of it had to do with the shoes.

  29. Jay C. Levine says:

    I found this article very interesting. I started to develop pain when I was 11 years old and I am now 65. I participated in many sports and my leg would lock which does not seem to be the same for the people who have written to you. I would go into traction to stretch the muscle until it relaxed enough and then the pain would eventually subside. When I was 18 I had an orthopedic specialist examine me for the military physical and I was given a physical exemption. A few years ago I decided to visit an orthopedic doctor and I was given a handicap license plate for life, so perhaps my condition is not quite the same as everyone else. I have found that rest has been the best solution to avoid pain. The stretching exercises make sense to me as long as they are done slowly and stopped at the first sign of pain. I was also told I could not cause any damage to my legs participating in sports as long as I could tolerate the pain. I was given morphine for the pain at age 11 and by the time I was 15 I refused to take pain pills. There does appear to be a direct correlation between athletic activity and the pain for everyone. Good luck to everyone who wrote.

  30. Mindy says:

    I ran a 5K today for the first time in years. It was ok til a few hours after. Everytime I tried to walk it hurt so bad I thought I was going to fall. I am in a wedding on Saturday and need to not be in pain. What can I do to make it better by then?

    • Felicia says:

      Mindy, I’m not a professional so take my advice with a grain of salt.

      If I were you, I’d rest, ice it and take over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs. It might provide short-term relief, but you really need to get to the root of the problem. I’d pay a visit to my chiropractor/physical therapist.

      Good luck at the wedding.

  31. Sarah says:

    Does anyone know if this can cause debilatating chronic pain? I’ve been to see numerous doctors including hip, spinal, and neuro for this horrendous pain. The symptoms seem to fit with the muscle above, and the standing stretch toward unaffected leg is something I started doing unconsciously all the time to help with the pain. I used to engage in compulsive exercising and I’m thinking I may have injured it years ago and it’s been untreated. The thing is the pain is 24/7, even with sitting and not exercising. Any thoughts?

    • Felicia says:

      Sarah, it’s hard to say if it’s your tensor fascia latae muscle. Sorry to hear you’re in constant pain.

      It sounds like you’ve got to first deal with the excruciating pain before you can undergo any type of therapy. I’m not a fan of over the counter anti-inflammatory medicine, but maybe that’s a start to reduce the swelling and quell the pain in order to begin working on the problem.

      Have you tried a chiropractor and physical therapist? If the pain is severe, I’ve found acupuncture helps to relieve pain.

  32. Conrad says:

    I’ve been working as an architect for about 5 years now. Ever since I started sitting infront of the computer for long hours everyday I began to experience not so much pain, but discomfort on the right hip. In the beginning, it would bother me from just sitting, especially the day after hockey training, never would it bother during any physical activity. Over the years I noticed that during the summer when I wasn’t on the ice I didn’t have problems with my hip. Now, after about six month of direct training of the hip area, doing clams, bridges, side lying leg raises, etc. along with stretching and deep tissue massages with a lacrosse ball, I gained a lot of strength and mobility and I started feeling the discomfort less around the TFL and glutues medius.

    In the meantime, I visited physiotherapists who just told me keep exercising and strengthing my core and watching my posture. This type of advice didn’t really help my cause.

    However, the last few days I’ve once again began to feel the discomfort. So, after reading around a bit again, I came up with hip internal rotator strengthening. The last few months I’ve been working out the external with the clams and side leg raises. I thought maybe I have an imbalance, which is forcing the muscles involved in the external rotation of the hip to work extra harder because the internal rotation muscles aren’t activated. I did the work out tonight and I haven’t been in such discomfort in a long time!

    I’ll keep at strengthening the internal rotation muscles and see if there is any improvement in a couple of a weeks time. I’ll write again with results!

    • Felicia says:

      Conrad, I’m sorry to hear about your pain.

      I’ve come to the conclusion that our technologically advanced and sophisticated society has done much to perpetuate many of our lower back and hip injuries.

      After 5 years of sitting in front of a computer (I also did a 5-year computer sitting stint), our bodies begin to rebel when we engage in exercise.

      Recently I’ve come across what I call the “bushman squat.” The squat is not relegated to bushmen only, many cultures use it. I’ve started incorporating it my daily routine. Instead of sitting at the computer for an hour, I’ll put the laptop on the floor (slightly elevated) and work from a squatting position (heels on the ground).

      Since incorporating the squat in my daily routine, my lower back ailments are gone. No more twinges of sciatica and there’s been a loosening of the tightness in my hips/lower back. I’m not so sure this is the answer your injury, but once you are pain free, you might want to give it a try.

      • Conrad says:

        Well, it has been more than a year and half since I last posted. I want to give an update, since my pain has practically all been relieved.

        I kept on training, especially my hamstrings and core muscles. Along with this, before bed every night I stretch my legs, pin pointed mainly my groin area. After a while stopped the exercises, but kept on stretching and I’ve still been without pain. Feels great! While I am younger and this may not be the best idea for the old folk without proper supervision, I hope my approach will be able to help someone else! Take care everyone!

        • Felicia says:

          Hi Conrad,
          Glad to hear things are going well for you. Thanks for coming back to share what you’ve done and the progress you’ve made.

          Some of us “old folks” are healing too. 🙂 It seems that TFL issues will go away if we treat them right.

          Stay well!

  33. Arabella says:

    So about how long does it take to recover from an injury like this? I’m 15 and playing two running intensive sports, soccer and lacrosse. I felt a mild pain at soccer practice the first day and the next day when we did sprints the pain was so unbearable that I could barely walk to the school trainer and much less the school steps. It’s been two weeks and it definitely doesn’t hurt as badly as it used to, but the pain just doesn’t seem to go away. I’ve been resting the last week and a half and I could barely feel any pain, but as soon as I started running it flared right back up. I’ve been icing it and taking Advil, but it still hasn’t gotten any better. I don’t know if I should just keep icing it and resting or go to see a doctor, because I don’t feel it getting any better at all.

    • Felicia says:

      Arabella, it’s hard to say how long it will take. You’re young so you’ll heal faster than an old gal like me.

      Unfortunately, TFL injuries don’t seem to heal quickly. I switched from running to an alternative sport so I wouldn’t continue to aggravate it. TFL injuries take weeks to months to heal.

      Have you tried some of the stretching exercises?

      Since suffering from TFL pain, I’ve learned to do just as you’re doing. Rest and a course of anti-inflammatory medicine. If it doesn’t heal then, I visit my chiropractor for an adjustment and a course of physical therapy. He usually gives me an exercise routine to follow to balance me out and get rid of the problem.

      I hope things improve for you soon.

  34. David says:

    To help get rid of the pain I have found that when I can’t sleep because my TFL tensor fascia latae is tight .It feeling like my ASIS or pelvis is in deep aching pain . I sleep on a cut to fit swim noodle . . My massage teacher has told me to start looking at my psoas muscles and to seek release of that deep stomach ,lower back / femur muscles . so I’m working on that . Mine use to click when I walked I was told.. as standing hold foot behind back/butt and to then point the knee behind the other legs knee . Thanks for the great info everyone is posting .

    • david says:

      As I learn more I have found it’s sometimes the pelvis is misaligned from one side to the other .To figure it out the asis side of the pelvis in pain is backward in its position to the other and that sides of the pelvis would be forward sometimes pulling on the back hamstring/glut mm .

  35. Darrell says:

    This is incredible, thought I was one of the few with this problem. In my 70s and I think I hurt my TFL with a severe cramp while working behind a washer and dryer. That was over a year ago, thought it would go away. Had an MRI, no bone problems. Went to a highly recommended ortho surgeon and he diagnosed TFL, gave me a steroid shot where the tendon attaches to the hip bone. Special steroid that stays where its injected, seemed to help some, went for another shot 6 weeks later, seemed to help some, was scheduled for another shot Friday but Dr. had a family emergency. He did recommend a stretching exercise – lie on back, bring affected knee from affected hip up and over unaffected leg and stretch TFL by pressing down with free hand. Haven’t seen much improvement but I haven’t worked at it like I should – relied on shots to cure.

  36. Steph says:

    Hey everyone,
    I have been reading al these stories. And it is nice to see some people improving. I am a collegiate mid distance distance runner. I actually ran I the olmpic trials this summer. I am just curious as to how long it really took some of you to have your glute exercises to work. And how many times a day were y’all doing them? And what cross training did you feel aggravated it the least. I have to get back at it soon. Keeping my fingers crossed for everyone

    • Cecilia says:

      Hi everyone,

      Has anyone been diagnosed with a tear and had it successfully heal and are running again? I am a long distance runner and have been running for years. I had been working on speed work the past few months, getting my average speed down to a 7 min. mile on average. My quads began feeling a little tighter than their already tight nature this past week, but I ran through it and ended up with, what I’m sure is, a TFL tear. I felt a pop and my hip flexor area is still swollen 5 days later. I just want to emphasize for everyone to not push if your legs are tight. Your muscles have memory and if you’re continuously stressing them, they will continue to shorten with each work out, and have no where to go eventually, but out – – a tear. I have been icing, compressing and using Arnica cream and oral pills. Going to see a sports medicine doc soon to get some advice on moving forward. In the recovery zone where I am – – stretching, if there is no pain, is good and also forcefully rolling the lactic acid out of your quads with a foam roller or frozen water bottle or the palm of my hand are helpful in relaxing the tightness. Have to get back to running, but got to do it smart!

  37. RD says:

    I’ve been walking every other day for almost 20 years. I’ve never had a problem until two weeks ago when after my four mile walk, I experienced severe pain in my lower right and left hip areas.

    I wear the mens’ Espira Classic Wide Walking shoe. Have for years along with professional foot orthodics. I visit my Chiropractor twice a month to be sure everything lines up from my neck down.

    Thus, when I experienced this pain, I knew right away that it wasn’t from any hip or foot misalignment. As it turns out, it was my TFL. A muscle that I had no idea existed until the pain arrived.

    I have found that the best stretch exercise for this is to lay down on your back. Bend you right or left knee at a 45 degree angle and put a towel under that knee. Take your other free leg and lay it across the top your bent knee.

    Make sure you keep crossed leg straight. Pull back on your towel until you feel TFL muscle stretching. Count to ten. Let up to the original 45 degree leg position and then repeat again. Do that at least three times. Ditto for the other knee and leg.

    I did this for three days. On the fourth day I tried walking again. I experience no pain. That hip area is still a little sore and sensitive but the pain is gone. Going to keep doing my stretches and walk every other third day until there is no soreness or sensitivity.

    I hope this helps some of you. Thanks

  38. kathy says:

    Have just researched problem with my hip and it appears to be this problem. Not only do I have good deal of pain but when sleeping I get cramp in calf and toes of affected leg causing toes to curl. I need to get up and stand on my foot to stop the cramping. Will try tennis ball in hip to relieve pain. thanx

  39. Exact same problem, nasty little blighter, discovered a stretch that really helps,put the foot of the offending leg on a chair seat, other leg stretched behind and staight and push the knee of the offeñding leg away from you as far as you can then bend at the waist in the opposite direction from the knee,RELIEF !

  40. Tamara says:

    Thanks Felicia for posting about this problem and helping to share all this info through others. I went searching for reasons for my pain and have self-diagnosed tfl problems after an x-ray was negative and my pcp said it was positional which cooresponds to what my previous chiro always said about my hips being out of alignment.
    My point to pposting is to recomend these great balls called tspheres that I bought at a non-profit booth where I met the inventor who was a very knowledgeable massage therapist who does cranialsacral therapies as well. They are a little larger than a golf ball and not as hard. You get 2 in a set and they are amazing. I’ve used them standing up againt a wall for my shoulders and rolled on my tfl on the floor and the release of the tightness is way better than anything I tried doing self massage. They are infused with lavender with is a nice bonus but totally not the reason I got them. You can get them at tspheres.com. I paid $20 because she was giving all the money from the sales to the charity she was volunteering for but I think she said they were $35. Good luck everyone with all of your healing accomplishments!!

  41. Laura says:

    Wow – I’m not alone! I am. Part of the type A over achiever group! I love to push myself to where I’m competing with my last endeavors until about 4-5 months ago. I believe the culprit was an undiagnosed IT band issue. It affected my knee so I was definitely over compensating with my left side. I began to experience pain, and a lot of it! The dr. Originally told me it was bursitis. Well it was not. I researched bursitis and thought “I can beat this!” – again I did not. I continued my workouts – running – spinning, etc. and the pain was SO bad that Walking was a struggle – going up and down stairs killed and even sliding into my SUV hurt. Went to the orthopedic and found out it was TFL. I am on a month of NO workouts – only swimming. He instructed me to sit in an unladylike position (legs out to form a ‘V’) to release the muscle strain – ice it and take naproxen. I go back in two weeks where he said he’d send me to pt and give a cortisone shot. It is killing me to not run outside right now but need to do what is best. If I had been more educated about my body – workouts etc. this would not have happened! So going forward I’m going to strive to know what is working what and not over do it! I hope I’m not off from running for a year but at the rate of my healing this may be the case :-(. So thank you to all for your insight and for this great blog/site! Cheers!

  42. Lisa says:

    I have been having the same TFL problems for years…an old injury caused by my swim coach in college. I have always been able to keep it under control with a little rest, ice and motrin. This time around…not so much!! I went to the doctor and got an anti-inflamatory hoping that would help but still in pain. I went to an orthopedist last week and he finally diganosed me with a strained TFL…all this time I thought it was just tendonitis. He suggested physical therapy and NO running!! Ugh!! Problem is, I am about to head out of town for the next month to train with a friend (we do triathlons). I don’t have any tennis balls laying around but do have a foam roller, as soon as I read all the comments about the tennis ball I went down and used the roller…I could immediately feel the release! I also did some reading and found that strengthening the gluteus medius is also a way to help. Here is a link to an exercise for that (it says that it is helpful for IT band issues but I think it will be good for TFL also), as well as other exercises to help and prevent other types of running injuries. Good look to everyone! I have a half-iron man mid-september…I just hope I can run 13 miles by then!!


  43. Gail says:

    I suffered from TFL for years but didn’t know what it was until I went to a physical therapist. She found a “hot spot” (a pinpoint area of acute pain) just under my waist and it disappeared after she worked on it for a few visits. However, there were other “hot spots”. Let’s face it, we can’t just get on the ground and roll on a tennis ball all day (my chiropractor said a golf ball is better), so I decided to massage my “hot spots” aggressively with my thumb or knuckle several times a day (whenever it was socially acceptable to rub your hip in public!). The muscles down the leg to the knee also hurt, so I massaged them too. I can say that the pain is gone! However, as that pain was leaving, I would also get a stabbing pain in the hip to the point that I couldn’t put weight on it. It occurred to me that this was not muscle pain, but nerve pain, so I did what we all have done and went to the internet and discovered that this was the sciatic nerve and the piriformis muscle. So, I would lie on the unaffected side and massage this muscle deeply. I no longer get any sharp pains and only little dull aching pain occasionally. But I really see the light at the end of the tunnel. May I add that my pain initially came from a leg length discrepancy as well as ankle pronation. During this time I was fitted for orthotics which aligned the hips properly (which was the reason for the TFL in the first place). Hope this post helps.

  44. Sue says:

    @Felicia, my comment was for you with regard to your sciatica. I just read about Eva, I presume you mean figure skating, I started skating in January and that’s when my pain started again, I am actually 56, so a bit old to start figure skating but I love it. I am full of aches and pains though, a beginner knocked me backwards an I subluxed and fractured the coronoid process of my elbow, but I am trying to carry on with everything and think I will try the tennis ball on my tfl and piriformis, let’s hope it works.

  45. Sue says:

    Maybe it’s sciatica from piriformis syndrome. This muscle is next to the tfl and traps the sciatic nerve if it becomes too tight. I have tfl and piriformis problems and the pain is aweful, I cannot lie on my right side at night and if I do it wakes me up. My orthopod thought I had trocanteric bursitis and I must have had at least 8 cortisone injections into that area over a couple of years,it always helped for a while but came back again. Mt physio and chiro both diagnosed it as tfl and piriformis.

    • Felicia says:

      Ouch! That sounds painful. My TFL problems have gone away, but I then suffered with sciatica for a bit. I wrote about it here on the blog.

      My sciatic problems were on my left side where my TFL was on the right. Fortunately, I switched chiropractors to one that resolved my sciatica problems (after months of excruciating pain). He said it might flare up from time to time, but I now know which exercises to do to keep it at bay. Hope yours gets resolved.

  46. Paul says:

    Thank you for posting this. It was extremely helpful, especially the links and the dialogue.

    I am a semi pro ironman triathlete and have been training about 25-30 hours (running aproximately 45-50 miles a week). I had a pain in my glute med and min which then seemed to progress to the TFL. I saw a physio and sports doc who both diagnosed it as my Glut med/min tear which then led to a tear in my TFL. I had an MRI and that confirmed the state of play. I had two cortisone injections (glut and tfl) which unfortunately didn’t seem to help. Due to my race being in 6 1/2 weeks I stopped running for 10 days hoping to slowly get back into it with short, slow runs. Unfortunately I could only run for 19 min at a very slow pace for me. I tried the next day to run 15 based on coach/physio’s suggestion (hoping that 15 min was my threshold). Unfortunately the damage is such that I could run for 4 min. So I have officially now cancelled out of my races and am forced to let it heal and forcus on next season trying to deal with strengthening the muscles and coming back stronger and faster.

    • Felicia says:

      I’m nowhere near the athlete you are, but in my amateur status, rest and stretching seems to be the best remedy for TFL.

      Sorry you had to cancel your races.

  47. jimballcoach says:

    Part of my workout today consisted of rotational lunges. While lunging with my right leg in front and rotating my upper body to the right, I felt a pop in my left hip. The sensation ran down the outer left thigh. I can walk and body weight squat with no pain. However, any upper body rotation to the right while walking gives me pain in my left hip. Is this my TFL?

  48. Eva says:

    Im a 15 almost 16 year old skater with this, and its been extremely painful for the last month or so. Its hard for me to stop skating because I skate competitively with my team. I went to the doctor when I was 13 (when I was first diagnosed) they sent me to physical therapy which at the time didnt seem to work and made it very painful, so I stopped. I stopped skating with my team for a year after that and my hip seemed to get better, same with the year after with only little pain once getting back into training to compete. This synchro season my hip has hurt a little bit in the past but more recently its been extremely painful at all times. I dont want to go to the doctor because they say I shouldnt skate, but with Nationals around the corner and my test coming up I cant really stop (well my mom and coach dont want me too and I do too) Anyways do you know any good stretches? or ways to make it feel better in short time? anything would be great, thanks!

    Also if anybody knows any long term problems because Ive had it since i was 13 and now im 16 so it would be great if anyone knew if it goes away

    • Felicia says:

      Hi Eva,

      Read through the comments listed here. The tennis ball therapy seems to have worked for a lot of folks. Give it a try. I don’t know how quickly it will work for you, but since you’re so young you may see quicker results.

      Hope you can get back to skating soon.

  49. DaveM says:

    Thanks Felicia for a great post. And thanks to all the others for the good comments. I found this post a little late and am recovering from my TFL pain. Maybe my experience will help someone in the future:

    I have been a runner, on-and-off for years. last spring I got motivated and built up my miles – from 40/month in April to 80/month in Aug. was not having any problems. I am 48 years old, by the way. about this time I got motivated to run my first marathon in the future and started training more heavily.

    I ran two half-marathons in the fall and was feeling great. increased mileage up to 150/month in November with the marathon taking place on Dec 11. November is about when my IT Band started acting up. I was proactive about it and treated it and all was well by race day.

    finished the marathon in just over 4 hours, which was just fine with me. during my recovery, a week or two after, i noticed my right hip started to ache. at first I assumed IT Band again, but it was much higher. I could still run, bu the ache was there. when i got back up to 10 to 12-mile runs on the weekends the ache became mopre of a pain, which lingered for days after. so i finally went to the phys therapist. he has finally diagnosed the TFL and I am having deep massage plus using the tennis ball and stretches described above. Hopefully we can use this info to treat the muscle and strengthen it before we have these symptoms again.


    • Felicia says:

      Thanks for sharing your story. From the comments posted here, it seems that using the tennis ball therapy is a step in the right direction. Hope all goes well with you.

  50. Christy says:

    So glad I found this! I began having hip pain the week before Christmas (2011) and after seeing two Chiropractors and an Orthopedic, I don’t seem to be getting any answers.

    I’ve been running for about 10 years. I ran NYCM in November, ran very little mileage for 2 weeks, then began ramping up my mileage again to prepare for the Houston Marathon in January. I had done a 16-mile long run, the next week was a cut back week, so I ran 12…I wasn’t experiencing any pain. Then, I went out for a slow, 3-mile recovery run and I noticed that my right hip felt achy and tight. As the day went on, the hip began to hurt more. I iced and stretched, which seemed to help and then tried a 6-miler 2 days later. The hip ached when I put weight on it, but after a few miles the pain subsided. However, it ached more and more as the day went on. I rested for a few days and then did my 18-miler (probably not the smartest idea!). Again, the hip ached for the first few miles, but then felt better. I was sore the next couple of days, but nothing severe. Two days later, I set out for a 4-miler and the pain was excrutiating! I stopped running, but attempted the elliptical and biking. The pain did not subside, so I saw a Chiro.

    The Chiro felt it was just a bad case of tendonitis, but thought that I should still be able to run the Houston marathon (which was then 1 1/2 weeks away). He did electronic stimulation, some painful deep tissue massage and gave me some exercises and stretches to do at home. I was hopeful, because my hip felt better almost immediately after this treatment! I could now walk without wincing, get in and out of the car and even put on my pants with almost no pain. However, if I put too much weight on the leg (like stepping off the sidewalk) or stepped funny, I would experience a sharp pain. I went in for another treatment and felt even better. But, when I attempted a 4-miler a few days before my race, the pain came back – both when I put weight on the leg and when I lifted the foot off the ground – it was excrutiating. Needless to say, I did not get to run the marathon. I also saw an Orthopedic the week before the race. He did an x-ray and also thought I should be able to run.

    So now I’m seeing a different Chiro who specializes in ART. He thought the pain could be my rectus femorus, but after reading your posts I think he could be wrong. Plus, the ART does not seem to be helping. What I don’t get is that for normal day to day stuff, my hip feels pretty good! But, when I tried a 2-mile “test run” (at the Chiro’s suggestion), I feel pain!

    I have tried foam rolling the area, but I will try the tennis ball suggestion and see if that helps! I was also scheduled to do a 1/2 ironman race in April, but that plan has also been scheduled due to the hip issues. I just want to exercise again! It is so frustrating to have everything come to a screeching halt!

    • Felicia says:

      Christy, I hope the tennis ball works for you. This is an old post and my TFL seems to be doing well, but I’ve recently been plagued with sciatica.

      I’m very functional with it, but I want it gone. My new chiropractor is working with me and suggest that I not exercise for 2 weeks. Not being able to exercise because I’m experiencing a lazy day is much different than being told not to exercise. I think I’m losing my mind. I can’t wait until the two weeks are up and I can get back into the swing of things.

      Please let us know how the tennis ball works for you.

  51. sheila kavanagh says:

    Well, I said I’d check back in and let you know how I’m getting on since the physio gave me exercises to do for strengthening my glutes and side quads (see earlier post). The good news is that it seems to be doing the trick. I’m back out there running, with no pain. The pain I had been getting in my left hip/Tensor/medial glute area is gone for the last few days. I noticed a strength gain in these muscles just last week, although I started to do the exercises four weeks ago, and since I have only started running without pain since making the strength gain I’m putting it down to her diagnosis of the problem being correct. My core strength has improved too (holding plank position much longer now) and she says that this will make me more stable while running, which will make my running more energy efficient. She advised me to keep doing the exercises a couple of times a week to keep those muscles strong. I’m so happy about being back out there running as far as I like, that I don’t mind putting in the effort. One other thing I am doing differently is that I am mid-foot striking now, not something she told me to do, just something easy to do that might prevent further injury down the line.

  52. Donald Brown says:

    I have read all your problems associated with TFL, I am a Certified Orthopedic Massage Therapist through OMERI. I am also a Professional Disc Golf player, and play probably too much which really aggrivates my TFL from constant walking and pushing off with my left hip flexor. I suggest that you research self massage, specially the hip flexor (TFL) and use trigger point therapy or neuromuscular therapy technique to relieve the trigger points that are constantly firing. If you will take your thumb and press on the trigger point while flexing the muscle slightly and I emphasize slightly you will feel it start releasing. If you are unable to accomplish this locate a massage therapist that is certified in NMT and who also works with atheletes to work with you to relieve those trigger points. I’m 57 yrs old and have been a therapist for over 12 yrs, playing disc golf since 1984, I also have to relieve my TFL after every tournament day or else I can’t play the next day. Good luck.

  53. sheila kavanagh says:

    I’m a long-distance runner, and I have just seen a physio for exactly the same pain. She gave me some exercises to do which will strengthen my vastus lateralus and medial glutes. She says that because these are weak my legs are wanting to collapse inwards too much, creating a biomechanical difficulty, totally correctable with exercise. To test if this is a problem for you, do a 30 degree squat on front of a full length mirror, keeping your knee in alignment with your hip and (the outside of) your foot. If you are wobbly in the knees the abductor muscles on the outside of the leg are weak. The same squat done with a resistance band tied just above your knees, pulling the knee out into alignment, holding each repeat for anything up to a minute, will strengthen the outside quad and glutes. There are also exercises to do lying down on your side, with the band around your knees. Bending at the knee, aligning the soles of your feet with your spine, lift the top leg up, resisting the band, not allowing your hip to rotate backwards during the movement (if your hips go out of alignment you will not be working the relevant muscles. Hold for 10 seconds each rep, then ‘pulse’ up and down slightly for 10 more, to increase the burn. Engage your abdominal/core muscles when you are doing these exercises – another version of the side raises is to do them with the bottom knee slightly off the floor, which means you engage core muscles more. My physio says I should see improvement in about 4 weeks if I do these every day. I’m on my third day doing them and am doing three sets of the side raises, two sets with the knee off the mat, and six sets of the squats, holding for up to 50 seconds each rep, alternating legs. Hope the instructions here are easy to follow, for anyone wanting to try the exercises. I’ll check back in here in a few weeks if anyone’s curious to see if it solves the problem .

  54. PB says:

    Hi all

    I’ve recently had a similar problem and the physio I went to was very thorough. He is focussing less on the healing and more on the root cause of this (and many other related issues such as shin splints and hamstring strains).

    Basically the root cause is weak glutes that are not ‘firing’. Therefore the quads, calves and other muscle groups are having to make up the slack.

    An easy test is to stand relaxed and have someone hang a weighted string from your hip bone. It should rest over the ankle bone (body aligned and standing straight) but if it is resting over the middle of your foot then your glutes are not firing and keeping your posture properly aligned.

    So for the moment I am doing some gentle exercises to just gentle rock back into proper alignment while standing, plus another where I do a sideways hip-flexor leg lift.


  55. Bryce says:

    So interesting to read all your posts, yes I read every one…Because I am a runner who has had hip pain for over a year now. Pain bad enough to stop my running. The pain is exactly on my outside hip bone, like if you are standing and put your hands on your hips, the right hip bone is right where I have burning pain. It is always bad after I’ve run. The worst was June 2010 after a half marathon, I was in so much pain after the race I could hardly stand up straight. I rested for about 4 months, used ice, ibuprofen, stretched, the pain started to fade so I gradually began to run again. The burning pain on my hip bone came back quickly. I stopped running and did stretching and bodyrock exercises(like p90x). Pain & swelling then attacked my knee so bad I couldn’t bend it.
    I’m thinking it is my TFL muscle and must be the IT band too to affect my knee. It’s just miserable not being able to exercise. I have been going to a yoga class once in awhile when I can and the instructor told me to use a tennis ball and lay on it right on my side(hip/butt)and let it work in to my muscle for a few minutes. I haven’t noticed an improvement but I will keep doing it because I have no other answer. It is so depressing to not be able to run or even do regular aerobic exercise, especially when all my friends keep at it…anyways it is nice to know I’m not alone. I wish you all health & healing in 2012!

  56. Page Richardson says:

    I have been having hip pain for several months now, mainly my left hip. I have never been a runner but in the last year I have ran four 5K runs. I have always done some kind of excercise, usually low or high impact aerobic type exercises and have never had any issues. I recently went for an MRI and all they found was a buldging disk, nothing that is associated with my hip, sent me home with muscle relaxers and told me not to do any strenous exercise until the pain is gone. I don’t really like to take pills but I have taken IB a couple of times and that seemed to subside the pain temporarily. I have been using a heating pad everyday and that seems to help the pain. I walked 4 miles the other day on a pretty hilly track and during the walk my right hip started hurting. The doctor tells me to excercise but when I do, the pain is just too excruciating. I have heard of the tennis ball technique but have never tried it. I’m willing to anything at this point to relieve the pain and get back to exercising. Thanks everyone for your posts, they have helped tremendously.

  57. Christine says:

    I am glad to hear all of you improving. Pauline, I have heard that same feedback from a couple of my clients, recently, about GENTLE stretching. Thank you for sharing. I need to do more research. Have any of you had pain in the low back area (Opposite side of your painful TFL)? Specifically with your Quadratus Lumborum muscle? Its origin is the posterior Iliac Crest, Insertion is the 12th rib and Transverse processes of lumbar vertebrae 1-4. It is the opposing muscle to TFL.
    Keep up the good work!

  58. Kurt says:

    Just wanted to let everyone know what I have been doing that has significantly helped my TFL. First of all, I took about 2 months off from running and my daughter is a personal trainer and through her guidance I started doing standing stretches with my right leg crossed in front of the left and bending to the left with my right hand raised up & over to the left. Also, I think even more than that, I have been using hand held weights and I do standing side bends and worked my way up to 50 pounds at a time in one arm and switching arms after a set. I now do 3-4 sets of 20 reps. The pain is almost gone and I have been able to slowly start running again. It worked for me and hopefully this will help you all.

  59. pauline mcglynn says:

    hi, i’ve had this problem on and off for 3 years now, stretching is the only thing i’ve found that really works. Something else that worked well was to lie on the floor and get someone sensible to very gently pull the leg on the sore hip side and wiggle it about, do this about 4 or 5 times every few days, i tried it and the pain went but unfortunately came back a year later. I think this works because the hips and or legs become imbalanced and maybe this corrects it slightly, i read it in a running magazine, tried it and it worked.

    • Felicia says:

      Pauline, I like the fact that you mention to get “someone sensible” to help out. LOL. My TFL has been quiet lately, but I’ll keep that in mind if it happens again.

  60. Hi everyone! I have not finished reading everyones comments, however, it saddens me to hear everyone in so much pain. In my experience as a licensed massage therapist, all of you quite possibly have a strain in either your(TFL) Tensor Fascia Latae or some other hip flexor/extensor etc. I would need to muscle test each of you =) If you can point to a specific area of pain it is possible you test positive for a strain otherwise it may be myofascial pain. I have been taught, by James Waslaski, an international instructor of Orthopedic Massage, on HOW to realign scar tissue formed at the specific injury. Maybe I can direct you to someone that can help in your area. One word of advice, NEVER stretch into the pain. Someone else had it also..get the inflammation down first. I wish you all good health!

  61. Gail says:

    Glad to have found this site. I have been suffering with TFL for a few years now and haven’t found a doctor to help or explain what is happening. Unlike most of you, I’m in the over 60 category and am definitely not a runner. However, I did have polio at a young age and have one leg shorter than the other. I have had pain in one hip (the longer leg) while walking or climbing stairs. I have discovered the link to the upper hip and along the outer leg muscle pain and the pain I feel while walking. I’ve been messaging it but will now look for a tennis ball. Wondering if this is going to be a chronic condition, or will the exercises eventually help?

  62. Kurt says:

    I have only run once in the last 2-3 weeks and the pain was there after and for the next couple days. I have now resorted to fast walking and the pain is gone and i have been working with my daughter since she is a rehab science graduate and personal trainer and she has helped me also..
    i just have to stretch more and i also use muscle rub and that helps.

  63. Cassie says:

    This is a great link to a website that helps explain what, how and why TFC occurs. I hope it is as helpful to you as it was me.


    Stay happy and healthy 🙂

  64. Kurt says:

    Let’s go with your answer….

    I just hope this is what the pain is? Even walking it hurts.

    • Felicia says:

      I know the feeling. Mine used to hurt after a walk too. Between the stretching and switching to biking, the pain eventually went away.

      I’m not much of a runner, but the few times I ran, the pain did not come back.

  65. Kurt says:

    I thought 50 was the new 40?….lol

  66. Kurt says:

    This is great to know that i am not the only one with this issue. I have been running and biking for years, along with martial arts and recently the same pain has been hampering me. I stretch alot anyhow but not that muscle. I did alot of stretching for the bottom of my left foot which has alot of pain but i have adjusted my running and that has gotten alot better. I turned 50 a couple weeks back and i do not want this to allow me to slow down…
    Thanks again..

  67. Donna says:

    Dear Richa, Thank you…thanks so much for the links to the tennis ball exercise for TFL pull. I just started today.

  68. William says:

    After looking at charts and the area where it hurts it sounds like a TFL pull, it occurred on heavy leg presses done too fast I think.it was feeling good after a wk. off but while working at 470 lbs I did it again, I will try the tennis ball and welcome other suggestions

  69. courtney says:

    Felicia, that is so great to hear! May I ask how long you took off? My doc said I should be able to run again starting today, two weeks after the cortisone shot he gave me. I think he is a bit clueless…especially after researching what has become his mis-diagnosis on me. I have not run for 2 months and I am only wanting to do little runs these days, That last marathon was a tough one:) I think I am done with those distances.
    Thanks for sharing your age info, how ever young you may be I hope I can still run when I get to it;)
    thanks again for the info!!
    go for a run for me today!!

    • Felicia says:

      Courtney, I took a year off from running. I took up cycling instead. You see, I don’t love running as you do so taking the time off was welcomed. Now that I’m back I have no TFL pain (I share my story in my latest post).

  70. courtney says:

    OMG! OMG! Finally an answer to my pain I feel satisfied with. I have been a distance runner for 23 years and have had this pain since last November when I was training for a marathon. I took two weeks off prior to the race and was able to do it with out much pain. I took a break for a couple of weeks after the race and started running again. The pain just got worse, much worse very fast. I finally went to the orthopedic doctor a few weeks back. He x-rayed to check for fractures and such and luckily I was all good. He diagnosed me with a hip abductor strain and I was so tired of being in pain I got a cortizone shot. He said wait two weeks then try to run. Tomorrow will be two weeks but it gets aggravated when I take my dogs for a long walk so I am scared to.

    I have been researching his diagnosis because it just didn’t seem correct to me and finally with the help your posts I know what it is!! All your symptoms are exactly like mine too a “T”. Thank you so so much! Unfortunately I am like Madeline and desperate to run again so I really hope it subsides soon. I will try the tennis ball today. I have had acupuncture in the past for heal problems due to running and it helped immensely so I highly recommend it. Felicia you say you feel your pain may have just come with age, may I ask how old you are? I am 38 and feel I am still too young to have this kind of pain.

    Thank you all so much for posting and helping me figure this nasty little pain out! If I find anything that helps me I will post ASAP!!!
    thanks again


    • Felicia says:

      Courtney, I hope this works for you. I just started back running recently after an extended break. My TFL is quiet and enjoying the run. My mileage is just a fraction of yours, but I’m happy to be running pain free.

      As far as my age…well let’s just say that I passed 38 quite some time ago (and I really mean some time ago). 😉

  71. Madeline says:

    P.S. LOL at the name – soft tissue work for tough guys – the comment about electro torture being nothing compared to the foam roller gave me a chuckle. 😉

  72. Madeline says:


    Thanks for the links. 🙂 I grabbed some tennis balls on the way home and am eager to get started.

    My brother and I planned on doing the Marathon in Marathon Greece in 11/2013. I told him I wanted 2.5 years just in case this injury takes a while to heal, but now that it’s scheduled, I’m DYING to train. Richa, I have the same addiction to the post run rush like you. 😉 I’m going to take it easy and just stick with light weights at the gym and tons of stretching. I’ll keep you guys posted with how this works.

    Oh, one more quick question – has anyone tried acupuncture? I’ve been curious about it…



    • Felicia says:

      My husband, although not an athlete, goes for regular acupuncture treatments to help him recover from an old ACL/MTL and shattered femur injury.

      He swears by it to the point where I’m considering giving it a try. Like Madeline, I’d be interested to hear someone else’s take on acupuncture.

  73. Richa says:

    Felicia your most welcome.Happy that I am able to help.

  74. Richa says:

    Dear All,
    In addition to my comment about the tennis ball, here is some explanation how it works. I found these websites.




    Recovery is a slow and gradual process and best friends for recovery of a muscle injury are timed rest between excercises ,stretches and electrolytes ,if you are not already doing this.The reason i am saying this is because i used to run cum walk 8-9 miles a year ago.I got over use injury.Guess i like the natural high which running gives too much.It took a year of stretching ,these recovery excercises ,timed small walks/runs as therapy for recovery.I even switched to cycling.Now i can run/walk 3 miles and still want more.Hope this helps.

  75. Madeline Martin says:

    Thank you so much for posting this article. I’ve been having a lot of problems with this to. My issue is that I get too excited on my runs and when I try and go longer distances (7 miles+), I get too eager to excel and end up running faster as well. Now I’m paying the price with TFL pain. I started feeling it during the end of January and now, five months later, am still in pain and still can’t run.
    I have spent hundreds in co-pays on physical therapy, chirpractors and orthopedic specialists. I’ve had an MRI (results were normal), cortisone shot (took the edge off) and even tried rest and nothing seems to help it. I’ve even taken several months off of wearing heels (sob!) but alas it has all been to no avail.
    I spend at least an hour a day stretching the TFL and sartarious muscle, but haven’t noticed much of a difference. I haven’t tried the tennis ball though – hopefully that will help.
    If anyone finds anything else that works, please, please post it here. I’m desperate to run again!!!!! 🙁

    • Felicia says:

      Madeline, I feel your pain. Hope the tennis ball helps. My TFL has been quiet since I’ve been biking instead of running. I’m thinking of giving running another try in the very near future.

    • Pam says:

      I have just recently completed my first half marathon and started having problems with the TFL. I just found out about this muscle from my massage therapist. She told me about the tennis ball and also said that if you just put pressure on the muscle using your fingers, do this a few times a day. This has really helped me, in a very short time! Good luck to you, I love to run too!

  76. Richa says:

    The best remedy i found for this was the tennis ball .Roll on a tennis ball(like your vedio-just use the tennis ball instead of the rolled mat) ,its a bit painful but mann..it works…you will see the difference in 15 mins of the excercise.I had this problem when i resumed running after a year.I think it happens because your muscle get stiff when you suddenly stop excercising.I love running ,however after i had this one year gap it was painful ..exactly how you described.Hope this helps.

  77. Karen says:

    Thanks for the information. I have the same problem in both hips. Mine flairs up even from just walking! Now I’m trying to do a walk/run program C25K and my hips are hurting again. I’m going to search for the stretches and exercises to relieve this.

  78. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I think we’re twins, I literally did all the same exact things as you from getting up from the computer, doing a 1 miler to set my pedometer and planned on seeing my chiro Wed. This first happened to me back in December when I did a flat 5k. I hadnt run since until today, so even all that rest didn’t resolve the issue. I am going to try the tennis ball suggestion ( thanks, Tiffany). When I am actually running, it hurts, but it doesnt hurt as much as I love to run, so I just get through it. I can really feel it when the run is over. I have found that a heating pad helps a lot.
    Take care!

    Cheers, Sarah

  79. Tiffany Cantrell says:

    I just discovered this article very helpful. Thank you. I am a weight trainer, runner and yoga teacher and practitioner. I have recently been feeling exactly what you are talking about. It feels like someone took a little hammer and decided to hit me with it at the top of my iliac crest. I asked a massage therapist yesterday and she said that it was my tensor fasciae latae. I haven’t been doing anything different lately in my exercise training, but at least now I know how to work on getting the area worked – saw your video. She told me to take a tennis ball and lay on it and roll around until it was painful but then the pain subsided. I still can’t figure out why I am having the flair up, but interesting! Thanks!

    • Felicia says:

      Tiffany, I’m glad this helped. I don’t have your credentials, just an annoyed tensor fasciae latae muscle.

      I find it flares up from time to time and I can’t quite figure out what triggers it either. I thought it was running, but when I cut back on that it would still flare up. I tend to think my flare ups are related to my age. Things start to behave a little differently the older we get. 🙂

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