Tensor Fasciae Latae

Full Title: Tensor Fasciae Latae

Author: Julie McHale

Date of Publication: January 1, 2017

PDF: http://petmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/Tensor-Fasciae-Latae-by-Julia-McHale-2013-12-20.pdf

Research Paper Text:

What is the TFL? Tensor Fasciae Latae

The tensor fasciae latae is a muscle of the thigh. The Latin name for this muscle roughly translates to English as “the muscle that stretches the band on the side”. The word tensor comes from the Latin verb meaning “to stretch”. Fascia is the Latin term for “band”. The word latae is the genitive form of the Latin word lata meaning “side”. (Wikipedia)


Dog and feline:

Origin: Lower edge of the front end of the pelvis; the surface of the gluteus medius.

Insertion: Into the fascia covering the thigh muscles

Structure: The triangular muscle separates into two forms on the surface. The muscle belly ends on the thigh; its lower edge is directed downward and forward from the upper end of the femur. The Sartorius, not the TFL, is the leading muscle on the front of the thigh.

Function: flexor of the hip joint, extensor of the stifle joint, tensor of the fascia latae, draws the limb forward in the cranial movement of the stride.

Canine Anatomy: A Systematic Study by Donald R. Adams

Muscles: Tensor Fasciae Latae

The cranial femoral muscles include the TFL and quadriceps femoris. The TFL is a short double-bellied muscle situated on the proximal lateral surface of the femoral region between the Sartorius muscle craniomedially the middle gluteous muscle proximally and the biceps femoris muscle caudally. The TFL muscle arises from the tuber coxae and inserts on the fascia latae.

The cranial gluteal nerve arises from the lumbosacral trunk; crosses the dorsal surface of the ilium near the cranial margin of the major ischiatic notch with the cranial gluteal vessels and innervates the middle gluteus, deep gluteus, and TFL muscles.

Dog stifle joint (knee)

Musculature of Dog Stifle Joint

There are two groups of muscles in the dog stifle: those that extend the joint and those that flex it. Below is a list of these muscles and the nerves responsible for their stimulation Muscles extending: Quadriceps femoral nerve. Tensor fasciae latae – cranial gluteal nerve. Biceps femoris – caudal gluteal, tibial nerves.

Semitendinosus –tibial nerve. Semimembranosus – tibial nerve. Muscles flexing: Gracilis – obturator nerve. Gastrocnemius – tibial nerve. Superficial digital flexor – tibial nerve.


The piriformis arises from the ventral surface of the sacrum and inserts on the greater trochanter deep to the tendon of the gluteus medius. Both muscles extend the hip joint and both, inserting lateral to the hip joint, have some action in abduction. The cranial part of the tensor fasciae latae, the cranial belly of the Sartorius, and the rectus femoris of the quadriceps act to extend the knee (stifle) joint and to flex the hip joint. Owing to the difference in the mass to be moved, the action of these muscles is chiefly to extend the more distal knee joint, which has the lesser mass. The caudal belly of the Sartorius acts to flex the hip and the knee joints. The caudal part of the tensor fasciae latae also acts to flex the hip joint; it has no action on the knee joint.

Tensor Fasciae Latae m.

Origin: Tuber coaxe

Insertion: Cranial part: fascia lata, and by that means, the patella and patellar ligament; caudal part: lateral lip of the facies aspera.

The Healthy Way to Stretch Your Dog: Sasha Foster/Ashley Foster

The bent leg stretches the gluteal muscle group; the straight leg stretches the hamstring muscle group.

Balance Your Dog: Canine Massage C. Sue Furman, PhD

The two largest muscles on the lateral surface of the thigh are the biceps femoris, which extends the hip, stifle, and tarsus, and flexes the stifle; and the TFL which flexes the hip and stifle.



Hip and sacroiliac disease: selected disorders and their management with physical therapy.

Many problems in the hip area show movement dysfunctions of the hip joint in combination with the lumbar spine, sacroiliac joint, neurodynamic structures, and the muscular systems. Muscle strain injuries pertinent to the canine hip have been reported in the iliopsoas, pectinues, gracilis, Sartorius, TFL, rectus femoris, and semitendinosus muscles. Physical diagnoses of this type of injury require palpitation skills and the ability to specifically stretch the suspected musculotendinous tissue. Treatments shall incorporate modalities, stretches, specific exercises, and advisement on return to normal activity. Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a common finding in many large breed dogs. Physical treatments, preventative therapies, and rehabilitation could have a large role to play in the management of nonsurgical CHD patients with the goal to create the best possible musculoskeletal environment for pain-free hip function and to delay or prevent the onset of degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritic hip joints can benefit from early detection and subsequent treatment. Physical therapists have long utilized manual testing techniques and clinical reasoning to diagnose early-onset joint osteoarthritis and therapeutic treatments consisting of correcting muscle dysfunctions, relieving pain, joint mobilizations, and advisement on lifestyle modifications could be equally beneficial to the canine patient. As well, sacroiliac joint dysfunctions may also afflict the dog. An understanding of the anatomy and biomechanics of the canine sacroiliac joint and application of clinical assessment and treatment techniques from the human field may be substantially beneficial for dogs suffering from lumbopelvic or hindlimb issues.


From Mark Hocking

Pressure release and stretch treatment of a canine tensor fasciae latae trigger point
A trigger point in the dog’s tensor fasciae latae muscle is treated by applying constant gentle pressure to the most tender spot for approximately one minute and following with a stretch of the hip flexor muscles


Canine Massage: A complete reference manual

BY: Jean-Pierre Hourdebaught

The hip attachment of the TFL area just below the point of the hip is a very critical spot. This is where both the TFL muscle and the iliopsoas muscle originate. These two muscles are strong hip flexors. Furthermore, the TFL muscle plays a role in extending the stifle during retraction of the hind leg.

When this trouble spot is stressed, the dog will show discomfort on the same side when turning and will tend to throw his leg outward during protraction. Be careful and very gentle when starting to work this area. If the area appears very tender at first touch, use the ice massage technique prior to the treatment to numb the nerve endings.

Stir up the circulation in the area with the SEW approach. Apply compressions with a moderate to heavy pressure (5-12 lbs) along the TFL muscle. Then use kneading to relax muscle fibers and prevent the formation of SP36 and SP 37, intersperse with effleurage. Apply cross-fiber frictions over the entire muscle to loosen the muscle fibers. Alternate with some effleurages every 20 seconds. After the massage, apply cold to ease the nerve endings and flush the blood circulation in that area. Finish with the WES approach to thoroughly drain the area.

To finish this routine, apply lots of light stroking over the entire dogs body to give it a sense of relaxation.

Complete your massage with a general stretching routine of the dog which is particularly good to contribute to the positive effect of your massage work. After this massage routine, some light exercising for the dog is recommended as a good follow up but keep any lateral work (circles) to a minimum at first, especially if the shoulder and TFL muscles were tight.


Wobble boards are used to stimulate balance and proprietception for injured animals as well as for sports dogs during training for muscle development and coordination.

Leave a Reply