The gluteus muscles are a group of strong muscles at the back of your pelvis which make up the buttock. The main gluteal muscles are: gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus. These muscles are mostly responsible for stabilising the pelvis, straightening the hip and helping with hip outer movements such as taking your leg to the side.

What is a gluteal strain?

A gluteal strain is an injury where one or more of the gluteal (buttock) muscles are torn.

Gluteal strains range from grade 1 to grade 3:

Grade 1: Small numbers of fibres are torn causing pain
Grade 2: a significant number of fibres are torn
Grade 3: all muscle fibres are ruptured causing a big loss in function

Most of gluteal strains are grade 2.

What causes a gluteal strain?

When the gluteal muscles contract tension is placed through the muscles; if this tension is too high because of too much force or repetition, one gluteal muscle or more may tear.

A gluteal strain may be caused by accelerating rapidly when running, when lifting a large weight or when performing an explosive lift or jump.

What are the symptoms of a gluteal strain?

If you have a gluteal strain you may feel a sudden pain that is sharp or a pulling sensation in your buttock area when you are carrying out the strenuous activity.

Other symptoms may also appear in the gluteal area including:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasm
  • Weakness
  • Bruising

Gluteal strains are more frequent in an older athlete and after a warm up that has not been adequate enough before activity.

How is a gluteal strain diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist can perform a full assessment and can diagnose a gluteal strain though scans such as an MRI scan, X-ray, CT scan or Ultrasound may be used to rule out any other cause of the injury.

What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for a gluteal strain?

Following an assessment your physiotherapist will provide a treatment plan and different treatment techniques based on grade of gluteal strain you have and your goals. There are several different treatment methods and your physiotherapist will choose the most appropriate treatment options from your symptoms and response to treatment. Usually a combination of treatment methods are used.

Treatment can include:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Ice/heat therapy
  • Ultrasound
  • Advice and education
  • Sporting advice
  • Stretching exercises
  • Sport specific exercises
  • Leg, hip and buttock strengthening exercises
  • Gradual return to activity

Benefit of physiotherapy for a gluteal strain?

Physiotherapy is beneficial following a gluteal strain to make sure that you recover properly and in the shortest space of time. There are several different benefits of physiotherapy and your particular benefits will depend on your original symptoms and goals.

Physiotherapy aims to:

  • Reduce muscle tightness
  • Promote healing
  • Reduce pain
  • Increase range of movement
  • Prevent injury re-occurring
  • Increase strength

If you would like to book an assessment or enquire further, please call 01245 830280 or e-mail: