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Tendinopathy (inflammation of the muscle tendon) can be a pain in the butt! Literally. But it can also be a pain in your back, groin or even your leg.

Glute tendinopathy is a commonly diagnosed condition and can present in a number of different ways. Common symptoms could include:
– pain on the outside of the hip (most common)
– constant ache of the hip
– lower back pain
– pain in the front of the hip

Other features may include:
– pain worse in the mornings
– pain worse with longer walks or activity
– unable to lie on the affected side

Before self-diagnosis, it is important to get this checked out by a Physiotherapist. As you can see from the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to rule out other issues regarding the spine or hip joint itself

So why has this happened to you?

ANATOMY

It is known that females are more prone to developing gluteal tendinopathy simply due to the fact that having wider hips increases the angle from your hip bone to your knee-cap (known as the ‘Q-angle’). This means that there is more of a stretch (compressive force) of the tendon over the hip joint, leaving the hip more prone to being over stretched and over loaded.

BIOMECHANICS

This includes any weaknesses you may have in particular around your hips, trunk or thighs. Every single-leg action (e.g. stairs, running, or weighted exercises) requires an adequate amount of muscular strength around these areas.

LOAD

Like all tendinopathies, gluteal tendinopathy comes down to load! This means the demands you are putting through your tendons are greater than what they can physiologically handle.

You may have a specific moment in time you remember the injury/pain beginning (e.g. a fall/accident), however it is also highly likely it has developed over time; often an increase in activity, excessive weight bearing on one leg, or overuse. The pain will then likely get worse over a period of time without appropriate management.  

What do I do?

First step is to decrease the load on your body. Resting from aggravating factors to allow the tendon to calm down and heal. A thorough physio assessment will help you address the underlying cause of the problem and give you appropriate advice and exercises to manage the pain.

There are simple things you can do throughout the day if you are experiencing these symptoms. All of these things are to decrease the amount of hip adduction (which is when the thigh bone is moving back toward the midline):
1. DO NOT CROSS YOUR LEGS
2. NO LOW CROUCHES
3. SLEEP WITH A PILLOW BETWEEN YOUR KNEES
4. DO NOT STRETCH YOUR GLUTES
and finally
5. KEEP ACTIVE! Tendinopathies heal with the right level of load which needs to be carefully progressed throughout rehab. This is why getting it accurately assessed by a physio is so important. Sitting around in complete rest will generally not help the tendon heal completely and re injury will be likely.

When will I be better?

As with a lot of injuries, there is not one simple fix that fits all. Therefore, everyone will have different timelines of rehab depending on the severity and compliance with rehab advice. You can experience short term relief within the first 4-6 weeks with proper guidance. After this it can take 6-12 months to build up strength to leave you stronger that you were before so this doesn’t happen again!

Teri Schubert

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