Gluteal strain

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A gluteal strain is defined as tearing of one or several gluteal muscles. It is important to note that the gluteal muscles are sturdy muscles positioned at the rear part of the pelvis.

Once these muscles contract, tension is applied via the gluteal muscles. If this tension is too much due to repetition or high force, one or several of the gluteal muscles might tear.

The tears in the muscles can range from a partial tear which triggers minor pain and loss of function or a full tear. A gluteal strain can be categorized as:

  • Grade I – small fibers are ripped which triggers some pain, but full function is still present.
  • Grade II – several fibers are ripped with moderate loss of function
  • Grade III – all the fibers are ripped which leads to significant function loss

What are the possible causes?

Gluteal strain
Abrupt, piercing pain or pulling sensation in the buttock area during certain activities.

A gluteal strain can be caused by the following:

  • Abrupt contraction of the gluteal muscles such as during rapid acceleration while running, performing an explosive jump or lifting heavy objects.
  • Engaging in running and jumping sports such as basketball, football, rugby, soccer and athletics or during weight training.
  • A gluteal strain is likely to occur among older athletes
  • Lack of proper warm-up

What are the indications?

An individual with a gluteal strain usually ends up with the following:

  • Abrupt, piercing pain or pulling sensation in the buttock area during certain activities
  • In minor cases, the individual can continue with activity only to end up with intensifying symptoms upon cooling down.
  • In severe cases, the individual could not continue with activity and often limps or unable to walk
  • Increased pain during activities that places strain on the gluteal muscles
  • Swelling, weakness, muscle spasms and bruising in the gluteal area

If an individual is suspected with a gluteal strain, a thorough physical exam is performed. Other imaging tests might be required to confirm a diagnosis, assess the seriousness of the injury or rule out other conditions.

Quick Note / Disclaimer

The material posted on this page on a gluteal strain is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs and how it is treated, register for a first aid and CPR course with Mississauga First Aid.

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