Injuries to your thigh and hip muscles can affect not only how you exercise but also simple activities like walking, bending down and overall movement. A torn, strained or damaged tensor fasciae latae muscle can be properly healed and strengthened through directed exercise. After you learn the basics of form and movement from such professionals, continue to protect and strengthen your thigh muscles from injury.
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Also known as the tensor fascia lata, the tensor fasciae latae muscle is a relatively small muscle at the top outside edge of your hip. Its insertion point is at the head of the large iliotibial band that runs down along the outside of your thigh. The function of the tensor fasciae latae muscle is to help offer support for the iliotibial band, which in turn stabilizes the hip and knee joints. This small muscle also allows you to flex, abduct and internally rotate your hip.
Squats are an effective exercise to strengthen the tensor fasciae latae muscle and increase hip flexion and rotation. Many types of squats are available, including a full, front, hack or box squat, depending on preference. The basic front squat is effective for beginners. You can do this exercise with or without weights. Stand with your feet shoulder distance apart. Keep your back straight and your lower abdominal muscles pulled in. Bend your knees and lower your torso down toward the floor. Pause when your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Press upward against your heels. Repeat five to 10 times or as directed by your therapist.
Lying-Down Leg Lift
Do a lying-down leg lift to directly work on the tensor fasciae latae muscle. You can do this exercise lying on a firm bed or on an exercise table. Lie down on your right side, arm bracing your head. You can do this exercise with or without a weight. If you use a weight, place a toe or light ankle weight around your left foot instep. Lift your left leg to the level of your hip and slowly swing it forward to a 45-degree angle from your torso. Then lift your leg a foot off the table or bed, keeping your hips stable. Return the foot to hip level and in line with your body, and then lower to your starting position. Repeat this sequence five to 10 times, and then switch sides and repeat.
Gently exercise the tensor fasciae latae muscles and strengthen your hip muscles, improve range of motion and flexibility by performing thigh abductions as directed by your physical therapist. You can find thigh abduction exercise equipment at most gyms and physical therapy outpatient centers. Sit in the chair, bracing the outside of your knees against the pads of the machine. Start with light weight, and spread your knees apart, pressing outward against the resistance offered by the machine. Slowly bring your knees together. Repeat this sequence 10 to 20 times or as directed by your therapist.