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Glute Pain – What Should You Know?

Glute Pain

The deep buttock region of your body has a very complex anatomy. Many of us often neglect our buttocks until they start hurting badly and remind us of their presence. Your buttocks are chiefly composed of the gluteal muscle and fatty deposits; they are equally susceptible to pain, injury, or diseases. Once they start hurting, it can cause severe problems and extreme discomfort when manifested as glute pain.

Many conditions can cause pain or injury to the buttocks, like minor muscle strains or infections. Many of these conditions are not serious, but in some cases, a few severe conditions can require a visit to your doctor. If not treated promptly, it can also lead to pain or numbness in the buttock, the hips, or posterior thigh with radicular pain in the sciatic nerve distribution, also known as Gluteal Pain Syndrome.

Symptoms of pain and malfunction in the gluteal region can reflect different conditions, including Sacroiliac Joint (connects the hip bone to the sacrum), Dysfunction, Gluteal Tendinopathy, Lumbar Radiculopathy, and Piriformis Syndrome.

What are the Symptoms of Glute Pain?

There are many reasons a person may experience glute pain. These factors may include minor injuries to the sciatic nerves or sciatica disorder and damaged disks. The symptoms of glute pain may vary from person to person according to their individual health status, but some common symptoms that almost everybody can experience includes:

  • Bruising (inflict an injury on causing discolouration of the skin)
  • Soreness or aching in the buttock
  • Tingling (stinging sensation) in the legs
  • Swelling in thighs, legs
  • Difficulty in moving the muscle
  • Difficulty in sitting
  • Numbness (loss of sensation) and tingling
  • Feel pain in changing position from sitting to stand
  • A fever of 104F (40oC) or higher
  • Severe pain in the lower body
  • Stiffness or tightness in buttocks
  • Stiffness in the flexors of hips
  • Pain that gets worse with everyday activities like walking or exercise.


What Are The Common Causes Of Glute Pain:

You are most likely never to pay attention to your buttocks unless it hurts and irritates you. A wide array of factors can aggravate pain in your buttocks and lead to the gluteal syndrome. Most of these conditions are not very severe or painful. It is often seen that trauma, pelvic fracture, arthritis of the hips, retroperitoneal (connected to the region behind peritoneum) hematoma, or retroperitoneal tumour could lead to chronic pain. Let’s take a brief overview:

  • Muscle strain: As your buttocks are made up of three types of muscles, including gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. Any strain in these muscles can cause swelling, soreness, and stiffness in the affected muscles, ultimately leading to glute pain.
  • Bursitis: It is an inflammatory condition of the bursae of your body. It commonly affects knees, shoulder, hips, or elbows. But the bursitis of the ischial bursa cause glute pain.
  • Herniated disk: Almost every bone of your lumbar spine is cushioned and separated by disks. But if the outer layer of the disk tears, the disc becomes herniated. This herniated disc can press the nearby nerves and blood vessels causing weakness, numbness, low back pain, and glute pain. Such patients can also experience nerve pain, joint pain and even leg pain for long periods of time.
  • Perirectal Abscess: Perirectal abscess, also called a perineal abscess, is a pus-filled cavity that forms due to some bacterial infections in a gland near the anus. This abscess can lead to severe glute pain.
  • Piriformis syndrome: It is usually misdiagnosed as other kinds of back pain. But about 6% of the people diagnosed with lower back pain have piriformis syndrome. This is also a leading cause of glute pain. The patient often experiences difficulty in controlling the movement of femur bone due to the restricted functionality of the piriformis muscle.

When Do You Need to Visit Doctor?

Sometimes the pain is not too severe, and you can feel relief without any intervention after getting some rest for a few days, but other times you might feel severe pain in your hips and thighs. It can be very challenging for you to control your foot, bladders, or bowls – when this happens, you are required to seek immediate medical attention. You might be pondering: How long does a glute injury take to heal?

If someone is suffering from a mild glute injury, it takes about 1-2 weeks to heal properly. However, if someone is suffering from a more severe strain, it can take a long time – about six weeks or more to heal completely.

1. History:

The diagnosis of the gluteal syndrome is based on a comprehensive history and physical examination of the hip. The lumbar part of the spine plays an essential role in buttock pain. Therefore, problems caused due to the spine should be excluded during the history and physical examination. The factors that maximize or minimize the pain can dictate the diagnostic approach.

Sitting pain is commonly due to sciatic entrapment besides the piriformis muscle. Pain due to walking, running is associated with ischio-femoral impingement.

2. Diagnosis:

There are some significant measures in diagnosing the gluteal syndrome, such as:

  • Victim’s history like gender, body mass index, and age.
  • Location of pain: lateral buttock pain
  • If the patient feels pain in the lateral hip region, it indicates signs of proximal hamstring tendinopathy, but if the pain is reported in the deep gluteal region, it is most likely indicative of deep gluteal pain syndrome.
  • The severity of pain should be analyzed.
  • The flexion adduction internal rotation test (FADIR) is used to rule out osteoarthritis of the buttocks.

doctor examining patient with glute pain

How can you get rid of glute pain?

  • If you are suffering from swelling in the thighs or legs, use ice or apply heat to bring down swelling, this can also help reduce your pain.
  • Perform gentle stretch exercises for legs, and buttocks (piriformis stretch) to relieve pain.
  • Get proper rest to allow optimal heal of the injury.
  • Limit strenuous exercises to avoid further injury or pain.
  • A professional physiotherapist can help with supportive exercises. Physical therapy is the best non-invasive treatment to provide pain relief from musculoskeletal disorders. Especially hip pain caused by non-functional hip joint.
  • Myofascial release in conjunction with a proper rehabilitation regimen can help speed up the recovery.
  • Electrotherapy can also reduce pain and stop muscle spasms in gluteus muscles.
  • Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to offer instant pain relief.
  • Healthcare professionals might recommend corticosteroid injections in case the pain is intense doesn’t subside after rest or primary care at home.

Preventions Against Gluteal Injuries:

You can’t always prevent injury from happening, but what you can do is adopt some safety measures to minimize its chances.

  • Stretching: Stretching your legs, thighs, and buttocks (especially posterior hip) before and after exercise is the best warm-up. Post-workout stretching can help prevent stiffness of soft tissues, injury, tightness, and ultimately glute pain.
  • Warm-up: One should always warm up with some low-intensity movements of the body before a workout. It’s an effective tip that helps to ensure your muscles are not put under tremendous stress abruptly. Minimizes chances of injury and enhance range of motion for muscles.
  • Pressure on Buttocks: Avoid putting sitting or lying down in postures that can potentially exert extra pressure on the buttocks and end up triggering deep glute pain. Avoid excessive abducting, extension and external rotation of the hip joint as it provokes the symptoms of glute pain


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  3. Martin, H. D., Reddy, M., & Gómez-Hoyos, J. (2015, July). Deep gluteal syndrome. Journal of hip preservation surgery. Retrieved January 1, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4718497/
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