The Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) muscle is located on the outside of the thigh, and is often a source of pain and discomfort for athletes and active individuals. The TFL muscle can become tight due to overuse and can lead to issues like knee pain, hip pain, and lower back pain.
Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a technique that can help to relieve tension in the TFL and improve overall function. One effective tool for SMR is a lacrosse ball.
Here’s how to perform self-myofascial release on the TFL using a lacrosse ball:
- Locate the TFL muscle: The TFL muscle is located on the outside of the upper thigh near the hip. First find the illiac crest of the pelvis. It’s the “hip bone” that is located directly out to the side of the lower abdomen a little below the navel. The TFL is directly between this bone and the other “hip bone” that is on the upper outer thigh, the greater trochanter for any anatomy buffs out there.
- Lay on your side and place the ball right in the TFL between the illiac crest and the greater trochanter. (See photo above.)
- Roll forward onto the ball. Move your hips very slightly to find any tight spots in that area.
- Repeat: Repeat the process on other areas of the TFL or the other side.
- Stretch: After releasing tension in the TFL, it is important to stretch the muscle. The TFL can be stretched by standing and crossing the affected leg over the other leg, and then gently pulling the affected leg towards the opposite shoulder.
It’s important to remember that SMR may be uncomfortabl but should not be excessively painful. To modulate the intensity, you should breathe slowly throughout the whole process.
If you are causing so much pain that you can’t breathe slowly, that is a sigh to back off in intensity.
Incorporating self-myofascial release into your routine can help to relieve tension in the TFL and improve overall function. Give it a try and see if it helps relieve any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing.
Author: Nick Ortego is the owner of N 2 Action, a wellness studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, offering personal training, health coaching, yoga, and assisted stretching..