A strained gluteal muscle is a partial or complete tear of the small fibers of the gluteal muscles. The gluteal muscles are a group of 3 muscles in the buttocks.
A gluteal strain can be caused by:
- Stretching the gluteal muscles beyond the amount of tension that they can withstand
- Suddenly putting stress on the gluteal muscles when they are not ready for the stress
- A direct blow to the gluteal muscles
Factors that may increase your chance of getting gluteal strain include:
- Participation in sports that require bursts of speed. This includes track sports like running, hurdles, or long jump. Other sports include basketball, soccer, football, or rugby.
- Previous gluteal injury
- Tight gluteal muscles
Symptoms may include:
- Pain and tenderness in the buttocks
- Stiffness in the gluteal muscles
- Weakness of the gluteal muscles
- Bruising on the buttocks
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Most gluteal strains can be diagnosed with a physical exam. Images may be needed if severe damage is suspected. Images may be taken with MRI scan .
Muscle strains are graded according to their severity:
- Grade 1—Some stretching with micro-tearing of muscle fibers
- Grade 2—Partial tearing of muscle fibers
- Grade 3—Complete tearing of muscle fibers; this may also be called a rupture or avulsion
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Recovery time ranges depending on the grade of your injury. Treatment steps may include:
Your muscles will need time to heal. RICE is often the main part of treatment:
- Rest—Activities will need to be restricted at first. Normal activities will be reintroduced gradually.
- Ice—Ice therapy may help relieve swelling. Heat or cold may be advised throughout recovery if they provide benefits.
- Compression—Used for a limited time, compression bandages can provide gentle pressure to help move fluids out of the area.
- Elevation—Keeping the area elevated can help fluids drain out or prevent fluids from building up.
Prescription or over-the-counter medications may be advised to reduce pain.
To reduce the chance that you will strain a gluteal muscle:
- Keep your gluteal muscles strong so they can absorb the energy of sudden physical stress.
- Learn the proper technique for exercise and sporting activities. This will decrease stress on all your muscles, including your gluteal muscles.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 03/2015 -
- Update Date: 03/18/2013 -