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Repetitive Strain Injury/TFL Hip pain where it connects to illium


Three years ago I trained for my first half marathon. I started to develop pain in my upper hip area. During my runs I feel fine. It is after that I get a deep bruise like feeling in the very top I my TFL. If I sit for a while then get up the pain is very intense. The longer I sit the worse the pain is when I stand. I took time off 6 mths and then started to run and train again for another half. Again felt great on runs but pain after..especially after sitting. I am a yoga instructor as well and stretching it burns an causes more discomfort after. Standing side hinge hurts during and after. I have seen a pt who gave me hip abductor exercises. Side leg lifts. I have seen acupuncturist. I have had many many many massages -tried dry needling- energy work- you name it... It still hurts even after a one mile run. The one thing that seems to help is using a super high pressured water jet to hit the tfl directly after swimming but I only lasts a day. I just took a whole month off running and still no relief. Please please tell me that there is something I can do so I can enjoy running again??? I am a heel striker and I am working now at transitioning into a misfit striker. Help please!!!! Thanks in advance!!!!

Hi Jamie,

I'm happy to say that I believe we'll be able to work together to solve this problem completely.  First I'll explain what is the most logical reason for this problem. There is a muscle called the psoas that originates along the front side of your lumbar vertebrae and then inserts into the top of your thigh bone, close to your pubic bone.  When the psoas contracts you bend forward. There is a second muscle, the iliacus, that originates along the inside curve of your pelvis, it then merges with the psoas, and combined they both insert into your inner thigh.  When the iliacus contracts you pick up your leg to take a step.  Between them any movement you make that brings your thigh closer to your trunk is being caused by one or both of these muscles.  It will help to make this more clear if you go to and read the entire thread, but meanwhile I'll give you the brief version.  

You have a third muscle, the rectus femoris, that originates on the tip of your pelvis and then goes down your thigh, over your kneecap, and inserts into the front of your shin bone.  These three muscles are responsible for rotating your pelvis forward and down (it will be more clear when you read the link I gave you), twisting/contracting/overstretching all of the muscles that have an impact on your pelvis, including your TFL.  If you go to you can enter in each of the muscle names and you'll see the muscle and also the action of the muscle.

The reason the high pressure water jet is helping is because you are releasing the tension in the TFL muscle fibers, but it comes back because it's not thoroughly released. Rather than doing abductor exercises, further shortening the TFL, I suggest you take a tennis ball, put it on your TFL and then lie down on the floor, lying on top of the tennis ball.  It's going to hurt so go slowly (inch into the ball rather than go straight on top of it).  I have been working with two amazing yoga teachers to help people first untie the spasms and then safely stretch with yoga.  If you go to you can read about it. As a yoga instructor I think you'll like what you will see, and you'll quickly be able to incorporate it into your yoga practice, helping you and your students.

I believe you'll get a lot of immediate relief when you use the ball to flush out your TFL, please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.

Wishing you well,
    Julie Donnelly

Repetitive Strain Injury

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Julie Donnelly, LMT


I can accept questions that relate to chronic or acute pain caused by muscle spasms and contractions. Repetitive Strain Injury is actually Cumulative Trauma to muscles. Releasing the spasm &/or contraction will relieve the strain that is felt at the insertion point on the bone. I am the co-developer of the unique safe-stretching program "Focused Flexibility Training," which combines easy instruction for self-treating spasms throughout your body with proven yoga stretches. I have recently authored two new books: "The 15 Minute Back Pain Solution," and "The Secret to Your Best Golf Game EVER!


Since 1989 I have been working with endurance athletes and individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions. I have authored seven self-treatment books and three self-treatment DVDs and I have developed the Julstro System for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, Trigger Finger, and other Hand/Wrist pain. I am a national and international presenter at conventions, seminars, and workshops. Principle topics are "Work Shouldn't Hurt," and "The Pain Free Athlete." In 2005 and 2006 I was the massage therapist for ultracyclists competing in the Race Across America (RAAM) 3000+ mile race from San Diego, CA to Atlantic City, NJ. I've taught the Julstro techniques to physical therapists at the Cleveland Clinic, to massage therapists in areas around the USA, and I've taught Julstro self-treatment clinics to dancers at Juilliard School of Performing Arts (NYC),the sprinting team at NC State, and I am working closely with several Olympic-hopeful. We have successfully eliminated the repetitive strain injuries that could keep them out of the Olympic Games, and the best part is they know how to do the self-treatments so they can stay pain-free and flexible.

Triathlete Magazine, Endurance Magazine, multiple national and international trade journals.

Swedish Institute of Allied Health, NY, NY - Initial education in massage therapy Licensed NYS Massage Therapist since 1989. SUNY Empire State College, Saratoga Springs, NY - B.Sc. degree in Interdisciplinary Health Education I was an Associate Professor helping to develop the massage training program for SUNY Rockland Community College

Past/Present Clients
Privacy prevents me from filling in this section without prior consent from my clients. Life Experience: I have been specializing in the treatment of chronic pain and sports injuries since receiving my NY massage license in 1989. A personal bout with carpal tunnel syndrome was the catalyst to my developing a self-treatment that heals the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome quickly and without surgery. My work with endurance athletes was the inspiration to teach people how to self-treat so they could stop pains even during a race or heavy training day. Both of these situations ultimately became the products that are sold on my websites: and I currently treat people in my offices in Sarasota, FL, Cary, NC, or Pearl River, NY

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