Art Anatomy

Tensor Fascia Lata

Pronuncation TEN-sor FASH-uh LAT-uh
Derivation The tensor of the wide (lata) band (fascia), namely, the iliotibial band (ill-ee-oh-TIB-ee-al; see below.)
Origin Anterior superior iliac spine.
Insertion The iliotibial band.
Action Flexes and abducts the thigh, and rotates it inward.

Tensor fascia lata is a short but important bulk on the lateral side of the hip. Its form can be somewhat difficult to distinguish from gluteus medius, but when tensed, a depression forms between them.

Also, tensor fascia lata drops quite a bit below gluteus medius, which inserts on the great trochanter. The tensor, according to general rule, goes below the trochanter, nearly to the level of the gluteal fold under the buttocks.

It's the tensor's job to put tension on the iliotibial band, so called because of its connection to the ilium of the pelvis (via the tensor) and to the tibia, where it attaches directly to the lateral condyle. This lower attachment is a slim, dramatically straight form that can be easily seen when the knee is straightened and tensed.

The forward edge of the band, which sometimes appears as a linear break on top of vastus lateralis, points directly to the tensor.

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