Tensor Fasciae Latae Muscle and Iliotibial Band: Hip and Thigh Pain

 What pain and symptoms are associated with the tensor fasciae latae muscle and iliotibial band?

Tensor Fascia Latae and IT Band Pain

Pain deep in the hip going down the outside of the leg into the knee as well as difficulty standing from sitting can be signs of TFL and IT band dysfunction.

  • Pain in deep in the hip going down the outside of the thigh
  • Pain at the front of the hip joint
  • Discomfort sitting
  • When standing from a sitting position you tend to stand-up leaning forward at the waist with your knees bent. Straightening to a full standing position is slow with a feeling of stiffness as well as painful
  • While standing knees and hips tend to be flexed (bent)
  • Pain intensives when foot hits the ground while walking or running

Where is the tensor fasciae latae muscle and iliotibial band?

The tensor fasciae latae attaches at the top of the side of the hip bone, traveling down the side of the hip into the iliotibial band which runs down the side of the thigh connecting to the outside of the shin bone.

What movements do the tensor fasciae latae muscle and iliotibial band control?

  • Assists with twisting the thigh toward the body
  • Assists with moving the thigh forward
  • Assists with lifting the thigh to the side away from the body
  • Assists with bending the leg at the thigh

Activities that cause tensor fasciae latae muscle and iliotibial band muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Too much walking when not in shape
  • Running
  • Climbing
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Court sports (tennis, basketball, volleyball)

Interesting facts about the tensor fasciae latae muscle and iliotibial band muscle:

Tensor Fasciae Latae Muscle and Iliotibial Band

The TFL Muscle (red) and the IT Band (orange) twist the thigh toward the body, lifting the thigh and moving the thigh forward.

Pain from trigger points in the tensor fasciae latae muscle is often diagnosed as bursitis of the hip or thinning of the hip cartilage.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

ITBS is the  most common pain syndromes in runners, weight lifters, dancers, tennis players and basketball players. Pain or a stinging burning sensation is felt on the outside of the thigh down to the lower knee. Pain is more pronounced when the foot hits the ground while walking or running.

Clinical diagnoses to which the tensor fasciae latae muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Trochanteric bursitis
  • Iliotibial tract friction syndrome
  • Sacroilitis
  • Peripheral Nerve entrapment


Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the tensor fasciae latae muscle and iliotibial band:

Satellite Trigger Points: Gluteus minimus, Rectus femoris, Iliopsoas, Sartorius, Quadratus lumborum

Organ Systems Affected: Urinary and Reproductive System

For More Information See: Iliotibial Band and Tensor Fasciae Latae Anatomy

Help with Tensor Fasciae Latae Muscle and Iliotibial Band Thigh and Groin Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.Warm Therapy Gel For Hip and Thigh Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. It works better than other over the counter heating creams, providing therapeutic warmth without burning heat.  Applying Sombra to the muscles on the outside of the hip down the outside of the thigh and knee can help reduce pain and tightness caused by the TFL muscle and IT band.  I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and injuries over a week old. If you have recently pulled or have sudden onset pain in the TFL / IT band area, I recommend Biofreeze below.

Cold Therapy Gel For Tensor Fascia Latae and Iliotibial Band Injury and Pain

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel and I recommend it for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries.  It is better to use than warm therapy gels and creams for muscle pain caused by inflammation as it cools the area much like ice. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. If  your pain is from a recently strained TFL muscle or IT Band I would recommend Biofreeze.

Hot and Cold Multipurpose Wrap For Thigh and Knee Pain


The Hot Thermal and Ice Cold Compress Therapy Gel Pack Wrap is adjustable and is a great choice for a multipurpose pack to use on your thighs, knees, hip and back.  the wrap can be wrapped around the thigh for IT Band treatment, or wrapped around the hips to treat the top of the IT Band and tensor fascia latae muscle.  The pack can be put in the freezer and used for cold therapy on recently injured muscles to reduce pain and swelling. The pack can also be put in the microwave for warm therapy for chronic pain and stiffness. Solid quality construction that will last for a long time. Made in the USA

Tensor Fasciae Latae Brace and Support 

Groin Support / Wrap
The Neo G Medical Grade VCS Groin Support can help provide compression and support to a strained tensor fasciae latae and other upper thigh muscles. The adjustable Velcro closure around the waist allow for easy adjustment for a comfortable fit throughout the day. The double Velcro thigh sleeve can be adjusted for a snug but comfortable fit. The wrap is made to fit high up on the thigh and provides support and compression to high quadriceps, hamstring, and groin injuries. The brace made to fit men or women and can be used on either leg. The pliable neoprene is comfortable to wear even during sports activities. The brace is compatible with the Neo G 3D Hot & Cold Therapy Pack  for additional hot / cold treatment.


Sub Sports RX Graduated Compression Leggings – Men

Compression Leggings for Tensor Fasciae Latae Muscle and Iliotibial Band Support


Sub Sports RX Graduated Compression Leggings -Women

Compression wear is not just preventative wear for exercise. Compression wear can also aid in muscle injury support and reduce swelling during recovery time. If you are considering compression wear look for graduated compression. Graduated compression provides tight compression at the lower end of your limb and gradually decreases compressive force toward the top of the limb. This is important for circulation and inflammation reduction. The Sub Sports RX Graduated Compression Baselayer Leggings / Tights provide great comfortable compression at a reasonable price. The long leggings for men and long leggings or 3/4 leggings for women are a good choice for TFL muscle and IT Band support during exercise or injury recovery. To properly support the TFL and IT Band the leggings need to not only cover the thigh, but must also go down past the knee as the IT band muscles connect the hip to the bones in the knee. The Sub Sports RX Graduated Compression Leggings come in all sizes and have a choice of colors. Can be worn alone or under pants.

Massage Tools for Self Treatment of the TFL Muscle and IT Band

tiger-tail-18I recommend the Tiger Tail 18″ Roller to use on both upper and lower leg muscles to help relieve tension and pain. I like the Tiger Tail for its ease of use and because it does not strain the wrists and hands. You do not have to contort into different positions or get on the floor or up against the wall to use this foam roller, simply roll it up or down the muscle. The 18″ is a good size to use on leg muscles as well as other muscles. This roller is also recommended by physical therapists, athletic trainers and doctors for self-treatment of muscles in between appointments. To use the Tiger Tail on the TFL muscle and IT Band start on the side of the hip, and roll down the side of the thigh down past the knee. (Start off gently, this area can be very tender).  Start with light strokes for a minute or two and build into more pressure and more time. Do not overdo as you can irritate the muscles!

Trigger Point Self Treatment Massage Technique For Tensor Fasciae Latae Muscle and Iliotibial Band Injuries

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.Do you know that small knots and other dysfunction in the tensor fasciae Latae muscle can contribute to deep aching hip pain as well as pain in the side of the thigh going into the knee? 

If you have unresolved pain  I  recommend that you purchase Claire Davies The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language.  But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain,  how to find the trigger point and treat it. He also provides stretching and strengthening exercises for each muscle.  It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body.  If you have deep aching hip pain the extends down the side of the thigh you may want to learn about the trigger points in the TFL muscle as well as other thigh and hip muscles to help you resolve your pain. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.





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