Recovery with Foam Rolling Your TFL

Recovery with Foam Rolling

Tensor fasciae latae or “TFL” (Front/outer hip)

Reasons to consider mobilization (foam roller, lacrosse ball, trigger point cane, etc.):

  • Muscle soreness in the front of the hip from a recent workout
  • Tight Iliotibial tract (“IT band”) syndrome
  • This may present as lateral knee or lateral thigh pain during squats, running, or other knee movements
    • Limited motion or feeling of a “block” during far-end-range hip movements (e.g., lunge, stride)

How to foam roll the TFL:

  • Let’s say you want to foam roll the RIGHT TFL.  First, you will want to locate it so you know what/where you are going to roll!
    • Find the pointy bone in the front of your hip using your RIGHT hand, then put your thumb over it.
    • Close your fist, bringing it close to your thumb.  Your fist now represents the approximate location of the TFL.
  • Place the foam roller on the ground lay on top of it over top of the region where you located your TFL.  This can be accomplished by first laying on the foam roller at the top of your thigh with your belly facing the ground, then using your forearms, hands, and other leg to further adjust yourself.
    • Adjust the foam roller slowly and only a few a tiny bit in any direction—the area you are rolling is fairly small and does not require you to roll back-and-forth!
    • You will know you found the TFL when you feel a deep, achy sensation.  Now hold that spot for about 15 seconds!
  • To take this to the next level, stay on that spot with the roller and bend your knee and hip toward your chest, then straighten it back out and repeat 2-3 times.


  • In general, mobilizing tissue using a foam roller, lacrosse ball, trigger point cane, or other instruments will cause some discomfort; after all, the goal is to mobilize (move or “free-up”) the tissue from any restrictions that might be limiting your body’s movement or range of motion.  However, if you experience too much discomfort or pain, you should stop.
  • In general, you should not attempt to mobilize (foam roll, lacrosse ball, trigger point cane, etc.) a recent injury that has occurred within the past 48 hours.


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by Nick April, coach at Bent On Better

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