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TFL Trigger Points - Pain can refer midway down the lateral thigh and will often radiate to the knee

The tensor fasciae latae (TFL) is a vitally important structure in providing stability through the knee and pelvis. This muscle is a junction for several chains, including the spiral and lateral chains.

The anteromedial fibers are responsible for flexion of the thigh, while the posterolateral fibers provide stability to the knee.

The tensor fasciae latae assists various muscles, including the gluteus medius and minimus, rectus femoris, iliopsoas, pectineus, and sartorius.

Pain from trigger points in the TFL is typically felt at the level of the greater trochanter in the hip joint, and will often refer to the knee.

Walking and running will typically make the pain more intense.



TFL / ITB Syndrome

Most runners will have heard of the IT band due to the condition ITB syndrome which presents symptoms at the outer knee.

Some people will refer to pain in the outer hip as ITB syndrome, but this is incorrect. TFL dysfunction can contribute towards the development of IT band syndrome, but the symptoms always occur at the knee.

The close association of the TFL with IT band syndrome often leads to pain conditions which stem from the TFL being referred to as TFL Syndrome.

TFL trigger points can also produce excessive tension in the muscle and the iliotibial tract, thereby becoming one of the contributory factors of ITB Syndrome.



Anterior part of outer lip of iliac crest, and outer surface of ASIS.


Joins IT tract just below level of greater trochanter.


Flexes, abducts, and medially rotates hip joint. Tenses fascia lata, thus stabilizing knee joint. Redirects rotational forces produced by gluteus maximus.


Superior gluteal nerve, L4, 5, S1

Basic Functional Movement

Example: walking.


TFL Trigger Points

TFL - Common trigger point site


Referred Pain Patterns

Strong elliptical zone of pain from greater trochanter inferolaterally toward fibula.


Hip/knee pain (lateral), pain on side lying/fast walking/sitting with knees flexed up, hip-replacement rehabilitation, fracture of neck
of femur rehabilitation, morning hip stiffness.


Foot pronation when running (compensating for foot problems), short leg, bursitis of hip, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, poor sit-up technique, climbing, lifting heavy loads, being overweight.

Differential Diagnosis

Trochanteric bursitis. Osteoarthritic hip. Sacroiliitis. Lumbar spondylosis.


Gluteals, vastus lateralis, rectus femoris, sartorius, quadratus lumborum, iliopsoas, paraspinals.

General Advice

Avoiding prolonged positions (flexion). Avoid habitual postures (crossed legs, or standing on one leg). Pillow between knees at night. Running style, gait, and posture assessment. Warm up before exercise. Stretch regularly.

Hip and Thigh Anatomy 

Hip and Thigh Anatomy Online CEU CPD CPE


Trigger Point Treatment Techniques

Spray and Stretch YES
Deep Stroking Massage YES
Compression YES
Muscle Energy YES
Positional Release YES
Dry Needling YES
Wet Needling YES






This  blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell. 






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