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Jogging & Running/Tensor Fascia Lata injury



I have been running for decades injury free.  Currently, I run about 3 miles a day during the weekdays (four days of the work week) and do a long run on Saturdays (about 13 miles).  

In the past few months, I have been attempting to increase my speed and have been averaging about a 7:27 min mile on my long runs.  PR'd on a 3 mile run at 7'07". I have really felt pretty good after my runs until this past week.

The problem is, I have been so busy lately, with work, family illness, and newborns, and house hunting, that I have not been getting my cross-training in like I used to.  I also have been getting less sleep - - sometimes sleeping only 5 hours before doing a 13 mile run.

During the past week, I had been feeling kind of physically fatigued - - legs (quads and hip flexor areas have felt tighter).  I'm tough though - - I run long distance, so pushed through it.  Yesterday, my left hip flexor area felt especially tight.  I ran a 3 mile run, felt  a little uncomfortable, but no pain really. I iced it a bit when I got home that evening.  This morning, I felt tighter in the hip flexor area and had some mild muscle pain.  I tried to run and ended up stopping and walking because of the pain.  I walked a bit and intermittently jogged a short, slow few yards and then felt a pull or pop and a little more pain.  This time I stopped.  

The area on the side of my hip (Tensor Fascia Lata area) is slightly swollen and painful. No visible bruising. The pain level when walking is probably a 2 or 3.  Just feels tight - - know I've injured myself.   It's slightly painful to walk, but I have no pain when I'm still.  

I am taking oral Arnica and also using Arnica cream, taking ibuprofen and icing.  I am not running!  When the pain stops, I plan on looking for exercises I can do at the gym to strengthen my body before I attempt to run again. I love running and went to get back to it as soon as possible.

Does this sound like a serious tear? Or something I can heal on my own?  Any advice on a quick and full healing?  Help!

Cecilia, Congratulations on running so hard and doing so well. That is phenomenal. I'm not just saying that either. I'm very impressed. I am also very sorry to hear about your injury.  Good job on letting it rest. That is essential. There is a chance that you'll get back to running within 6 weeks without much pain, but these types of injuries have a tendency to change the way we move and cause continued pain. This isn't always the case, but isn't unheard of either.  Traditional treatment of tensor fascia lata injuries isn't fabulous in my opinion. They say to massage and stretch it, but it's normally not extremely effective. There's some short-term relief often times. However, I have found Total Motion Release therapy to be very effective. Use this link to find one in your area.

If there's not one in your area then let me know and there are some other things that I could give you to try, but this will be the easiest and most effective. All of the people doing this in California (that are recorded anyway) are physical therapists. You will likely only need 1-3 sessions. I'm 95% confident that this would make you running without pain within 6 weeks. This obviously depends on the extent of the TFL injury, but from your description this is my confidence level.

Good luck Cecilia. Please don't hesitate to follow up with more questions.  

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Nick Rainey


I can answer questions about pain and training program. If there is a question about running that I don't know then I'll do some research and make sure I provide you with an answer.


I'm a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I'm a track and cross country coach. I train clients throughout the year. I've helped prepare athletes for their NFL Pro Days. I've written articles on running. Finally, those that I work with have less pain and run faster.

American Physical Therapy Association- Sports Section

The 6 Week Workout Program- I'm the author of this book Research Made Simple for Physical Therapists- I'm the author of this Kindle book

Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Doctor of Physical Therapy BS in Exercise Science NSCA- CSCS and CPT USA Weightlifting Level I NPI- Certified Posture Specialist Total Motion Release Level II Certified Dry Needling

Awards and Honors
National Posture Institute's International Perfect Posture of the Year Award 2011 Clinical Excellence Award- Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions Aegis Therapies Scholarship recipient

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