There is a thin muscle in the thigh called the tensor fasciae latae. It goes from the lateral side of the pelvis to the top of the tibia or the lower leg. It extends into the iliotibial band which is elongated part of the muscle, a strip of fascia built of connective tissue which creates the IT band at the side of the knee. This muscle has the role in flexing and abducting the thigh which is important in the body movements, but also very important for the ones who use this muscle constantly. This can be seen among athletes or just in regular walking, bending and moving the legs and the hip. It is important to keep the muscle stretched in order to prevent any damage during sudden movements or in overuse. The tensor fasciae latae pain can be caused by muscle strain, which is the most common cause. In order to prevent such occurrence, you need to take care of this type of movements and strengthen the muscle.
Common Causes of the Tensor Fasciae Latae Pain
As we mentioned above, the most common cause of the tensor fasciae latae is a muscle strain. This can be done in numerous activities which uses the muscle, such as running, excessive walking, dancing, climbing, cycling, and some sports such as tennis, basketball, etc.
Every activity that can affect the muscle stretching can provoke the muscle strain. It is most common among athletes.
What Are the Typical Symptoms of the Tensor Fasciae Latae Strain?
The symptoms, as you can guess, include the muscle pain and other followed up difficulties.
- Pain in the outer part of the thigh
- Pain in the outside part of the hip
- Pain worsens when the affected muscle is being used
- Pain worsens when lying on the affected muscle.
Since these symptoms are frequent and similar among some other surrounding muscles, the tensor fasciae latae can be misdiagnosed as trochanteric bursitis. This type of condition includes the bursa inflammation. The bursa is the sac that keeps the muscle tendons out of friction. This is located in the upper part of the thigh, on the upper ending of the femur or thigh bone. Since it can provoke similar symptoms, it is important to diagnose it right in order to get the right treatment.
Treatment for Tensor Fasciae Latae Pain
The therapy includes the rest of the muscle and the strengthening exercises. It should treat the affected muscle but also the surrounding ones, making them stronger which should solve the imbalance that could further damage the muscle.
You can use the compress or wrap on the thigh, hip, and knee. It can help either cold or warm. You can cool down the wrap in the freezer or warm the cloth in the microwave which will reduce the swelling and consequently the pain. The chronic pain is usually treated with warm therapy and an acute injury by cold compresses.
Warm/Cold Gel Therapy
Another treatment which can help are gels. There are therapeutic gels that comfort the pain by warming the area. Other gels that are used are the cooling ones which reduce the swelling and the pain. It is applied to the affected area, from the top of the knee to the outside of the thigh.
Compression leggings can be used to prevent any further muscle movement which can worsen the injury. It supports the muscle and keeps it in place, but also soothes the pain relief and helps swelling reduction.
Brace support is good for muscle immobilization in order to keep it in place since the injury is new. This will keep the muscle inactive in order to recover.
The massage will help with muscle tension and reduce the pain. You can use some tools as well, such as rollers which you can roll against the outer part of the thigh. It will help with pain reduction.
Tensor Fasciae Latae Exercise for Stretching and Strengthening
Exercise such as the ones below can help dealing with the tensor fasciae latae pain.
Lay down on your back. Bend your knee of the affected muscle leg and cross the leg over the other one. Pull the leg with the opposite hand and hold it down for 10 to 30 sec. This will stretch the tensor fasciae latae but also the muscles gluteus medius and minimus.
Outer Hip Stretch
This exercise is done by standing. Stretch your leg behind the other leg. Lean the body to the side where you put the stretched leg and push the hip to the other side. You can also put the arm above your head to the stretched side, which will further help with stretching the hip. Hold it for 10 to 30 seconds. This will stretch the tensor fasciae latae but also muscle Sartorius and iliotibial band.
The squat should be done with feet apart at the level of your shoulder. Keep the back straight and your stomach muscles tight. Bend the knees till your thighs get parallel to the floor. Keep your knees behind the level of your toes. You can put your hands upfront parallel to the floor which can help with stabilization and help you to do the right posture. You can do this 5 to 10 times.
Hip Abduction with a Band
Stand straight, and wrap a band around your outer leg, which is on the opposite side from the wall. Pull the leg to the out as far as possible, but slowly in order to prevent injury. Get back to the primary position. This will strengthen the hip abductor and it will stretch the tensor fasciae latae, gluteus medius, and minimus.