A strained gluteal muscle is a partial or complete tear of the small fibers of the group of three muscles in the buttocks.
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This problem with the gluteal muscles may be caused by:
- Stretching the muscles too far
- Putting sudden stress on the muscles when they are not ready
- A direct blow to the muscles
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
- Playing sports that need bursts of speed, such as track, basketball, soccer, football, and rugby
- Prior gluteal injury
- Tight gluteal muscles
Problems may be:
- Pain and tenderness in the buttocks
- Gluteal muscle stiffness or weakness
- Bruising on the buttocks
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
Images may be needed if symptoms are severe. This can be done with an MRI scan.
How long it takes to heal depends on how badly the muscles are strained. Treatment will include:
- Resting the area
- Ice to ease pain and swelling
- Compression bandages to help move fluids out of the area
- Elevating the area to help fluids drain or prevent fluids from building up
Medicines may also be given to ease pain and swelling.
This problem may be prevented by:
- Keeping the muscles strong to absorb the energy of sudden physical stress
- Learning the proper technique for exercises and sports
- Warming up the muscles slowly and stretching them properly
American Council on Exercise
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine
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Lehecka BJ, Edwards M, et al. Building a better gluteal bridge: Electromyographic analysis of hip muscle activity during modified single-leg bridges. Internat J Sports Phys Ther. 2017;12(4):543-549.
Muscle strains in the thigh. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00366. Updated September 2019. Accessed July 29, 2020.
Sports-related groin pain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/sports-related-groin-pain. Updated October 31, 2019. Accessed July 29, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT Last Updated: 3/10/2021