During the initial assessment of low back and sacroiliac pain and dysfunction, Dr. John Phelts, at his Manhattan practice, routinely considers the possible involvement of the tensor fascia lata muscle in these problems. This muscle should always be assessed and corrected if successful correction of low back issues are to be expected.
The tensor fascia lata (TFL) is a muscle that plays a crucial role in the stability and function of the hip and pelvic region. In this blog post, we'll delve into the relationship between the TFL and the sacroiliac joint, exploring how dysfunction in the TFL can potentially contribute to sacroiliac joint issues.
The TFL is a muscle located in the hip region, and its primary function is to help stabilize and move the hip and thigh[^1^]. The TFL is also involved in abducting, flexing and internally rotating the hip joint. It further acts to stabilize and flex the knee through its attachment on iliotibial band (ITB). Due to its location and function, the TFL plays a significant role in the overall stability and function of the pelvic region.
The sacroiliac joint is a joint located between the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) and the ilium (the large, flat bone that forms the upper part of the pelvis)[^3^]. This joint plays a crucial role in transferring weight and forces between the lower body, spine, and ultimately the upper body, as well as allowing for limited movement during activities such as walking and running[^4^].
Although there is limited information available on the direct relationship between the TFL and the sacroiliac joint, it is important to consider that the TFL, along with other muscles (like the rectus femoris and gluteus medius) and connective tissues, plays a role in the overall stability and function of the pelvic region[^5^]. As such, dysfunction in the TFL could indirectly affect the sacroiliac joint and contribute to pain or discomfort in that area.
TFL dysfunction can be caused by various factors, including muscle imbalances, overuse, poor biomechanics, and inadequate stretching or strengthening of the surrounding muscles[^1^]. Dysfunction of the TFL can cause knee and/or sacroiliac (low back) issues. Knee problems can lead to low SI pain, and SI dysfunction can cause knee pain[^2^]. It's hard to know which issue of the three initiated the dysfunction of the others. It's similar to asking the question: which came first, the chicken or the egg? Addressing these issues can potentially help alleviate sacroiliac joint pain, knee pain, hip pain, and improve overall pelvic stability[^3^].
Although more research is needed to fully understand the direct relationship between the TFL and the sacroiliac joint, it is clear that the TFL plays a crucial role in the overall stability and function of the pelvic region. By maintaining proper muscle balance, biomechanics, and flexibility, individuals can potentially reduce the risk of developing sacroiliac joint, knee, and hip issues, related to TFL dysfunction.