Gluteus medius pain can be a frustrating experience, especially for those who lead active lifestyles. It is important to understand the factors contributing to gluteus medius pain, how it can be diagnosed, and what treatments are available.
The gluteus medius, together with the Gluteus Maximus and Gluteus Minimus, comprise the gluteal muscle group. This group of muscles is a very powerful muscle group of the human body, controlling many of the major movements of the hip. The gluteus medius (GM) serves to maintain pelvic stability, however weakness or inactivity of this muscle can produce harmful effects. This article will take you through some important information about the GM, and how to keep yours strong and functional.
Among other things, the gluteus medius serves to maintain pelvic alignment during single-leg activities (jumping and landing, kicking etc.). When you consider that over 50% of the gait cycle is spent on one leg, which can be increased by over a further 30% during running, it is easy to appreciate the importance of this muscle in a healthy, functioning body.
A weak gluteus medius can result in what is called, 'Trendelenburg Sign', essentially the hip dropping down during stance phase of the gait cycle. This hip drop sounds relatively innocent, but remember that the human body, although separated into different muscle groups, functions as a chain. Although the GM seems like a relatively small muscle in isolation, a "chink" in this part of the chain can have significant effects on the rest of the body. Repeated misalignment of the pelvis during gait can lead to other problems in the lower body, such as spinal, knee and ankle misalignment. This not only increases risk of injury from overuse (e.g. tendinopathy) or incorrect landing (e.g. ACL), but can also decrease the body's ability to generate power during general and sporting activity.
The butt is used as the main cushion of the body at rest, as such it bears a lot of pressure. But unnecessary or unexpected physical or physiological situation can produce gluteus medius pain. The following are the most common causes for pain in the GM area.
There are several ways to relieve and treat gluteus medius pain. The easiest and most natural way is through rest. Resting the affected area and applying ice to the pain can help reduce inflammation and pain.
Also, gentle stretching and exercises can help strengthen the buttocks' muscles and improve flexibility, which can help alleviate pain.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
But preventions is always better than looking for a cure, and the best way to prevent gluteus medius pain is to strengthen your muscles.
The gluteus medius can be developed through many single-leg exercises within a gym program. It is important to ensure that your GMs are strong and active, to avoid the potential consequences described above. Several examples are described below:
Consulting a physiotherapist will be worthwhile when your but pain becomes a chronic ailment. A physical therapist can help design an exercise program to specifically target the muscles and joints causing the pain.
In summary here are some points to remember when you regularly experience GM or butt pain.
As we have discussed various factors can cause gluteal or butt pain. These include a sedentary lifestyle, muscle strain and overuse, sciatica, hip issues, herniated discs and arthritis. A combination of rest, stretches and exercises can help strengthen the glutes and relieve the pain.
It is important to seek medical advice if you experience persistent gluteal pain.