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Windshield wiper syndrome or TFL, what are the solutions?

Windshield wiper syndrome or TFL, what are the solutions?

It's known by many names, such as windshield wiper syndrome or TFL, but whatever the term, tensor fascia-lata tendonitis remains a dreaded pathology in running, trail running and cycling.

Intense pain on the outside of the knee, forcing even the toughest athletes to give up. But what's the cause of this pain, and what are the solutions for getting over it and quickly regaining the pleasure of effort without discomfort? And what if, in the end, the causes weren't what you thought? One problem can sometimes hide another, leading to ineffective treatment.

But rest assured, there are simple, natural solutions to effectively relieve windshield wiper syndrome. We explain!

Article summary

TFL, windshield wiper syndrome, what is it?

Let's start by understanding what exactly ice-wiper syndrome is. At the root of this pathology lies the iliotibial bandThis flat tendon takes the form of a strip and provides the junction between the fascia-lata muscle and the gluteus medius muscle.

The flexion-extension performed repeatedly by the knee during effort gives it the movement of a windshield wiper. The tendon moves back and forth, generating friction between the iliotibial band and a prominence on the femur called the lateral condyle. This repeated friction causes inflammation and leads to fascia-lata tendinopathy.

Pain appears gradually on the lateral side of the knee and can radiate up to the thigh, generally leading to forced rest.

How to recognize TFL or windshield wiper syndrome?

Generally asymptomatic at rest, TFL leads to pain located specifically on the lateral part of the knee at the intersection of the femur and fibula. The level of discomfort can vary from simple discomfort to pain so intense that complete cessation of exertion cannot be avoided. Resting calms the inflammation, but the problem persists and returns to disturb the athlete after the same level of activity.

There are two simple tests that can be carried out to determine whether the discomfort experienced is indeed due to windshield wiper syndrome or TFL :

  • The first is the RENNE test: The athlete is positioned in unipodal support on the affected limb, with the knee bent between 30° and 40°. The test is positive when pain appears spontaneously on the lateral part of the knee.
  • The second test is the NOBLE test: With the athlete lying on his or her back, the therapist applies pressure approximately 3 cm above the joint line, on the lateral surface of the lateral condyle. Maintaining the pressure, he positions the knee in passive extension, with flexion of around 30°. The test is positive if, once again, movement awakens pain.

Windscreen wiper or TFL, what is the real cause of this syndrome?

If the cause of this inflammation is indeed mechanical, the origin of this disturbance is not what we think. Therapists have found that the difficulty in treating this pathology often stems from the diagnosis. Validate symptoms and name the pathology are of course essential steps in the treatment process, but to be complete, the examination must take into account the patient's overall posture, as the knee is often not the cause of the problem.

Windshield wiper syndrome or TFL is caused by poor posture during exercise. It's usually on the side of the opposite ankle that you need to bend to notice an imbalance. Unconsciously, the body compensates for this disturbance by modifying its posture, directly influencing the opposite knee. It is therefore essential to take into account all the problems and treat the origin in order to rebalance the posture and release the athlete's tensions.

Relieve muscle, ligament and joint disorders with STIMCARE

Simply apply the patch by following our tutorial videos, available in French only. here to guide you every step of the way.

If you have any questions about how to apply the patch, send your request to A therapist trained and certified to apply STIMCARE patches will take the time to answer your questions.

What are the solutions for resuming sport without pain?

As you can see, the best way to solve TFL or windshield wiper syndrome is above all to treating the origin of the imbalance. A quick consultation with a therapist is essential.

In the meantime, here are a few simple, natural tips for effective pain relief:

  • hot-cold : apply an ice pack to the painful area and a heat source to the thigh. The variation in temperature will limit the effect of inflammation.
  • Clay poultice: Easy to apply, the green clay poultice is applied to the knee for 2 to 3 hours. The virtues of clay help drain toxins naturally.
  • STIMCARE patches: Placed on the painful area, the patches will relieve the pain (Points 1 and 2, photo below). Like a mirror, the patches reflect the infrared rays naturally emitted by the body, promoting underlying blood microcirculation, improving oxygen supply and trainating toxins generated by inflammation. Patches provide rapid relief and their natural action lasts up to 10 days.
    To resolve the cause of the TFL that our experience has highlighted, we advise you to patch the following important point located in front of the external malleolus, on the joint capsule of the opposite ankle (Point 3.) Follow the tutorial below (photo) " Relieve discomfort in the lateral collateral ligaments of the knee" .

    If the opposite ankle is known to be affected, we recommend that you also monitor the "Ankle (external discomfort)" tutorial by adding the proposed inner and posterior leg points.
TUTO: Relieving the discomfort of external collateral ligamentsknee nodes
1. Major point of discomfort: Apply a patch to the sensitive ligament area.
2. Point located at mid-thigh on the lateral surface (Iata fascia).
3. Important point: Located in front of the lateral malleolus, on the joint capsule of the opposite ankle.

TFL or windshield wiper syndrome is a painful condition that needs to be treated quickly. However, proper monitoring and the application of STIMCARE patches on key points will help you quickly regain the pleasure of pain-free training.

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