Gluteal Tendinopathy – “Pain in the butt”
Jenny is a 65-year-old lady who has just retired recently. Her GP suggested she lose some weight to reduce aches and pains in her knees and back. Jenny decided to take on daily 5km walks and also joined a power walk group. Prior to this, Jenny was not very physically active and used to work in an office. Shortly after, she started noticing pain on the side of her right hip that is painful first thing in the morning, painful when getting up after sitting or driving for a while.
Her symptom seems to get better or “warm-up” with movement but gets aggravated when doing too much. Jenny also experiences disturbed sleeps due to difficulty getting comfortable lying on either side. Jenny tried to “massage it out” and leg stretches with no noticeable effect… She is frustrated that the pain is preventing her from walking and achieving her goal of losing weight.
If this sounds familiar, you may be experiencing a condition called Gluteal Tendinopathy. It occurs because the muscle group has been overloaded compared to its current capacity.
In this case, the load is a sudden increase in walking activities, and capacity refers to Jenny’s CURRENT ability to cope with a certain walking distance or intensity.
So what is Gluteal tendinopathy anyway?
It is an overuse injury to the gluteal tendon which attaches your gluteal (backside) muscles to the side of the hip.
What do I need to do to get better?
Avoid positions that may irritate the already irritated tendon. This includes hanging off one hip when standing, sitting with leg crossed, sleeping on the painful side, walking with a large stride or uphill, stretching your ITB or gluteal muscles.
- Pain management. Manual therapy may help provide short term relief. Anti-inflammatory medications have showed to delay the healing process of the tendon, therefore may not be the first choice for pain relief. Isometric exercise has been shown to have a pain-relieving effect on tendon pain, see a physiotherapist to find out more.
- Improve tendon’s loading capacity. See a physiotherapist to get an accurate diagnosis and a loading program accordingly.
- A gradual return to the aggravating activities. A physiotherapist will be able to guide you through returning to the activity that you enjoy.
Written by Jess Zhu
Book a time in with Jess, at either
Langwarrin Sports Medicine Centre – 03 9789 1233
Eramosa Physiotherapy – 03 5977 6590