The Malady: Strained Glute Muscle

The fourth installment of our 2014 injury series takes a close look at what you can do to treat a strained glute muscle. A sharp pain or pulling sensation in the glutes can indicate a strained glute muscle. Running, jumping and lunging will cause pain, but you'll also likely feel pain walking up or down stairs, walking uphill and perhaps sitting.

Glutes Roll

The gluteal group is comprised of three muscles: the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. They connect on the pelvis and femur, and help stabilize the pelvis and are integral to running, squatting, jumping and lunging. Strains occur most commonly when the muscles contract while in the middle of a stretch. Sudden acceleration, weighted squats and jumping can cause a strained glute muscle. The older and the less warmed up you are before your activity, the higher your strain risk.

Repair
Employ dynamic rest. Avoid running, jumping, lunging and stairs. Swimming might be well tolerated, and you can workout your upper body intensely to maintain fitness. Apply ice for 15 minutes four to six times a day for the first two days. An NSAID may help with swelling and pain. When you can perform stretches and strengthening exercises without pain, try the following. You may work up to a set of 10 to 20 three times a day:

Bodyweight Jump Squats

Glutes Roll
Sit on a foam roller with it positioned on the back of your right thigh. Cross your right leg over the front of your left thigh with your hands flat on the floor for support. Roll your body forward until the roller reaches your lower back. Then roll back and forth, and repeat with the roller under your left glute.

Strengthen
Weak glutes create action problems for the muscles that come off the pelvis, causing pelvic rotation and instability that can put you on the path to injury. Your glutes work closely with your core, hips, quads and hamstrings. The following two exercises are great for glutes as well as these other muscles:

Bodyweight Jump Squats
place your fingers on the back of your head and pull your elbows back so they are in line with your body. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then explosively jump as high as you can. Imagine you are pushing the floor away from you as you leap. When you land, immediately squat and jump again. You may hold dumbbells at your sides to make it more challenging.

Burpees

Burpees
And finally, try this complex exercise that works several muscle groups. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides. If you choose to hold weights, they will need to be of the hexagonal kind. Lower your body into as deep a squat as you can. Now kick your legs backward so you are in a pushup position. Perform one pushup, then quickly bring your legs back into the squat position. Stand up quickly and jump. That's one rep!

The Athlete's Book of Home Remedies by Jordan D. Metzl, MD, 2012, Rodale, New York, NY, pp. 78-81

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