Feb 2015 14

glute strain

By: Dave Wheeler

One of the things I love about my job is that you never know what issues a client will bring through the door. This week has been a bit of a surprise - it turns out that glute strains are a bit like London Buses, none for ages then 2 turn up at once.



pic by wikicommons


What is a glute strain?

in a previous blog post I've talked about muscle strains which are basically small tears in the muscle ranging from mild (grade 10 to severe (grade 3).

There are 3 muscles in the gluteal group which form the buttocks:


  1. Gluteus maximus. This is the largest of the glutes, shown in yellow on the picture, and runs from the top of the pelvis diagonally down and outwards towards the outside of the hip. Interestingly, it's one of the strongest muscles in the body, and is responsible (or at least should be responsible) for initiating the stride in walking or running - see the blog on "how good are your glutes?"
  2. Gluteus medius. This lies at the very top and side of the pelvis, with the lower section lying underneath glute max. It's shown in the diagram in blue
  3. Gluteus minimus. This is shown in red, and sits immediately below glute med.


Like London buses

Client 1: male 44 year old amateur cross-fit practitioner

James has a flat back posture, which can often be associated with weak glutes. But in James' case, regular cross-fit workouts mean that his glutes are quite strong. In fact, the tear in James' Glute Max was caused by the fact that his muscles were over tight and then made to stretch beyond the narrow range to which they'd become accustomed.


Client 2: male 20 year old football player

Jake has a kyphotic-lordotic posture, with hypertonic Glute Max (the muscles in his glutes are over-tight). This hypertonicity is caused by playing football every day and never stretching (what do you expect, he's 20!). A big movement (like a harder kick than normal, or a bigger stride than normal) caused quite a bad tear in Jake's Glute Max.


For both clients, treatment involved breaking down the scar tissue that had begun to form across the muscle fibres and trying to begin the process of realigning of the tissue.


Avoiding repeat glute strains

The key for both James and Jake is to reduce the hypertonicity (literally "hyper toned-ness") of the Glutes. So as well as exercising them through their sport, they need to stretch.

Regular stretching out the glutes after exercise, whilst the muscles are still warm, will help to prevent the muscles shortening artificially. This means that when big leg movements are made, the muscles are able to cope and won't rip.


As ever, if you think I can help, give me a call.