How To Foam Roll Your TFL

 

By: Dr. St Jean

The tensor fascial latae muscle (TFL) is a problem area for most of my clients.  The TFL sits on the outer portion of your hip and inserts into your IT Band.  The majority of the time, your TFL becomes synergistically dominant over the gluteus medius (one of your butt muscles) and this can contribute to tightness.

If you are ready to take the next step and eliminate your hip and knee pain or to learn more about how to properly stretch and foam roll, sign up for a free consult by clicking here.

What does the TFL do?

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Your TFL is primarily responsible for hip flexion and abduction.   Because of these actions, you will see it become tight often in runners, cyclists and patients with lateral knee pain.

As you can see from the picture to the left, it originates on the ASIS (a bony landmark on the front of your pelvis) and inserts directly onto your IT band.  It’s an important muscle when it comes to biomechanics of the hip and therefore warrants this discussion.

Instructions to Foam Roll Your TFL:

First things first, remember, this muscle sits on the outside of your hip.   In the above example, we’ll use my left TFL as an example.  Follow these step by step instructions, to effectively foam roll your TFL muscle:

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  1. Lay on the side you are attempting to foam roll on a mat or carpet.
  2. Place the foam roller directly on the outside of your hip (where the TFL muscle is located)
  3. Allow the full weight of your body to fall onto the foam roller.
  4. Alter the amount of pressure placed on your TFL but switching the position of your left arm/hand:
    • Balancing on your hand: place your hand directly under your shoulder, elbow extended (to create greater pressure on your TFL)
    • Balancing on your elbow/forearm: place your elbow directly below your shoulder, and forearm flat on the ground (to create lesser pressure on your TFL)
  5. Roll gently up and down the muscle belly; do not go too far down or up, as the muscle itself is not large by any means
  6. Rotate your body inward and back to the starting position to roll different portions of the muscle belly

Listen to Your Body!

Your TFL can be very tight and loaded with trigger points.  Go slowly, be careful, don’t forget to breathe and as always – if you have serious hip pain, go see your doctor!

This foam rolling technique will help to release your TFL muscle and if your TFL muscle is contributing to your hip and/or knee pain then you may experience benefit.  However, this doesn’t replace a comprehensive exam by a trained physician.

If you are ready to take the next step and eliminate your hip and knee pain or to learn more about how to properly stretch and foam roll, sign up for a free consult by clicking here.

 

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