Tensor Fascia Latae

The Tensor Fascia Latae works in conjunction with the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius,and gluteus minimus in a wide variety of hip movements, including flexion, abduction, and internal rotation.

The TFL is most important clinically for assisting in pelvis stability while standing and walking.

Tensor Fascia Latae
Tensor Fascia Latae

Tensor Fascia Latae



  • ASIS; anterior part of iliac crest


  • IT tract, which attaches to lateral condyle of tibia


  • Hip medial rotation, working with the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus
  • Hip Abduction, working with the gluteus maximus via the IT band.
  • Hip Flexion, assisting the rectus femoris.
  • Accessory knee flexor that is only seen when the knee is flexed beyond 30 degrees.
  • Stabilize the knee when it is in full extension with IT band.
  • It acts via the IT band in the lateral rotation of the tibia. This lateral rotation may be performed while the hip is in the abduction and medial rotation, as is seen when kicking a soccer ball.

Clinical Relevance

Clinically, the main function of the TFL is to assist in walking. The TFL does this by pulling the ilium inferiorly on the weight-bearing side, causing the contralateral hip to rise. The rise in the non-weight-bearing hip allows the leg to swing through without hitting the ground during the swing phase of the gait.

External Snapping Hip Syndrome

It is a condition where patients describe a palpable snap on the lateral aspect of their hip that occurs with a variety of movements. Though patients will often not complain of pain from this syndrome, it can progress to become painful. Treatment is typically conservative with oral NSAIDs and physical therapy. See link.

IT Band Syndrome

It is a common overuse injury observed in runners and cyclists. Patients describe lateral-sided knee pain.

~ Evidence-Based Exercises ~

According to an EMG study, the exercises that demonstrated significant muscle contractions of Tensor Fascia Latae are;

  • Running Man on Stability Trainer
  • Standing Hip Abduction
  • Side-Lying Hip Abduction

Running Man

Running Man

Standing Hip Abduction

Standing Hip Abduction

Side-Lying Hip Abduction

Side-Lying Hip Abduction

< Reference >

  • Keith L. Moore, Anne M. R. AgurArthur F. Dalley. Moore Clinically Oriented Anatomy 7th Edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013
  • Mills JD, Taunton JE, Mills WA. The effect of a 10-week training regimen on lumbo-pelvic stability and athletic performance in female athletes: a randomized-controlled trial. Physical Therapy in sport. 2005 May 1;6(2):60-6.
  • Via AG, Fioruzzi A, Randelli F. Diagnosis and Management of Snapping Hip Syndrome: A Comprehensive Review of Literature.Rheumatology (Sunnyvale) 2017;7(228):2161-1149.
  • Lavine R. Iliotibial band friction syndrome. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine, 2010; 3(1-4) :18–22
  • Bishop BN, Greenstein J, Etnoyer-Slaski JL, Sterling H, Topp R. Electromyographic Analysis of Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Medius, and Tensor Fascia Latae During Therapeutic Exercises With and Without Elastic Resistance. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2018;13(4):668-675.