• Gluteal Strain

    (Pulled Gluteal Muscle)


    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.
    Posterior Hip and Thigh Muscles
    Posterior Thigh Muscles
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


    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

    Risk Factors

    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
    • Fatigue
    • Overexertion
    • 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:

    Supportive Care

    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.


    American Council on Exercise http://www.acefitness.org

    Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.familydoctor.org


    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

    Healthy U http://www.healthyalberta.com


    Muscle strains in the thigh. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00366. Updated March 2014. Accessed March 10, 2015.

    Sports-related groin pain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 14, 2014. Accessed March 10, 2015.

    10/26/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Massey T, Derry S, Moore R, McQuay H. Topical NSAIDs for acute pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(6):CD007402.

    Revision Information

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