A Real Pain in Bum (Gluteal Tendinopathy)
Hip pain can be caused by a number of structures around the hip joint, including hip osteoarthritis, bursitis, muscle tears, fractures, referred pain from the lower back, and other hip joint pathologies. However, recent research suggests that gluteal tendinopathy is the most common cause of lateral (outside) hip pain presenting to health practitioners and is a leading cause of disability related to the hip.
What is gluteal tendinopathy?
Gluteal tendinopathy is a condition that is characterized by disruption to the tendons located in the buttocks, resulting in pain, particularly the tendon of the Gluteus Minimus and Gluteus Medius. According to research, this condition is more common in females over the age of 40, and it can be disabling, leading to end-stage hip osteoarthritis, and reducing an individual’s quality of life.
What are the common causes of gluteal tendinopathy?
There are several causes of gluteal tendinopathy that have been well documented in the research. These include:
- Age: As we age, tendons lose elasticity, making gluteal tendinopathy more common in middle-aged and older individuals.
- Sex: Women are more likely to develop gluteal tendinopathy than men, possibly due to hormonal changes, differences in anatomy, or biomechanical factors.
- Obesity: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing gluteal tendinopathy, as excess weight places additional stress on the hip joint and surrounding structures.
- Repetitive activities: Activities that involve repetitive movements of the hip and buttock, such as running, jumping, and climbing stairs, can increase the risk of developing gluteal tendinopathy due to the repeated stress on the tendons.
- Poor posture: Poor posture can put additional stress on the tendons in the buttocks, increasing the risk of gluteal tendinopathy.
- Previous injury: Individuals who have had a previous injury to the hip or buttocks, such as a fracture or muscle tear, may be at increased risk for developing gluteal tendinopathy.
What role does physiotherapy play in managing and treating gluteal tendinopathy?
Physiotherapy plays a vital role in the treatment of gluteal tendinopathy. Physiotherapists can help manage and alleviate the pain and dysfunction associated with this condition through exercise prescription, manual therapy, and education.
Exercise prescription is a key component of physiotherapy treatment for gluteal tendinopathy. A physiotherapist can design a customized exercise program to improve the strength and flexibility of the muscles surrounding the hip joint, including the gluteal muscles. These exercises may include hip abduction, hip extension, and hip external rotation, among others.
Manual therapy techniques, such as massage, can also be used to help relieve pain and stiffness in the hip area. However, these are only short-term techniques and should be used in the initial stage in conjunction with exercise. Additionally, a physiotherapist can provide education on alternative postures and body mechanics to avoid aggravating the condition and prevent future injuries.
Overall, early intervention with physiotherapy can help individuals manage and treat gluteal tendinopathy, reduce pain and disability, and improve their quality of life.
Lachie Stewart – BeFit Training Physio Double Bay
Lachie Stewart is a physiotherapist based in Double Bay in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Lachie has successfully treated musculoskeletal problems on the basis of a thorough assessment and diagnosis coupled with evidence-based rehabilitation programs tailored to the needs and goals of each individual. Lachie specialises in Sports injuries, headaches and ACL rehabilitation. To book a consultation, click the link below.