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What Is Gluteal Tendinopathy?

What Is Gluteal Tendinopathy?
What Is Gluteal Tendinopathy?

Gluteal Tendinopathy A Common Cause Of Hip Pain

Gluteal tendinopathy is a fairly common hip tendon injury. The gluteal tendons are the tendons that attach the gluteal muscles to the hip bone. Injury to these tendons as with all tendons may occur suddenly, however usually gluteal tendinopathy is the result of many tiny tears to the tendon, tears that have occurred in the tendon over time.
Tendon injuries generally occur in three areas of the tendon, including:

  1. The insertion of the tendon into the bone.
  2. The mid-tendon, between the insertion point of the tendon to the bone and the muscle.
  3. And at the muscle tendon junction where the tendon joins the muscle.

With gluteal tendinopathy it is most frequently an insertional tendon injury and is often associated with an enlagred bursa. The specific tendons involved with gluteal tendinopathy are the Gluteus Medius and/or Gluteus Minimus (see figure below).
The pain location presents as pain over the bony lump at the side of your hip known as the greater trochanter. The pain felt may also spread to the outside of the thigh and knee.

Gluteal Tendon Anatomy

Causes Of Gluteal Tendinopathy

Gluteal Tendinopathy is prevalent in physically active women over 50 yrs old. The anatomical variations of the anatomy of the female hips and pelvis coupled with the hormones influencing the female body around this stage of life are suggested to contribute to the risk of injury for this population and its high prevalence.
Suggested causes of of gluteal tendinopathy in the general population are due to poor hip and gluteal muscle control. This poor control and relative hip-pelvis instability leads to over stressing of the gluteal tendons. It is thought that the gluteal tendons are compressed by the ITB (Iliotibial Band) when the hip is adducted across the body (adduction of the hip is when the leg moves inwards towards the other leg as would happen if you crossed your leg across the other). This compression by the ITB can be increased if combined with flexion of the hip upwards or external rotation of the hip where the hip rotates outwards. These compressive motions can occur when the hip is under load during running and as a result of hip-pelvis instability when the pelvis drops on the non weight bearing side causing relative adduction of the weight bearing hip and compression under load of the gluteal tendons by the ITB (see figure below, right hand side image).

Repetitive Actions A Common Trigger For Gluteal Tendionpathy

Anyone can develop a tendon injury, most result from gradual wear and tear to the tendon associated with overuse or ageing. Individuals who make the same motions over and over again in sports, jobs, or daily activities are at more risk of damaging tendons.
Your tendons are designed to withstand high tensile forces, compressive forces and repetitive loading. However small micro tears can develop when a tendon is stressed if this stress and load to the tendon continues then these micro tears and the rate of damage can exceed your bodies rate of recover and the damage worsens causing pain and functional impairment (tendinopathy).

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on What is Gluteal Tendinopathy? should consult his or her general practitioner, sports medicine specialist, orthopedic surgeon, physiotherapist or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.

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