Top tips for runners with gluteal tendinopathy
Updated: Feb 15
Gluteal tendinopathy causes pain predominantly over the side of your hip, but it can also refer down the side of your leg. You can check out the video below for a full explanation of what causes it, how to test for it and what treatments and exercises can help for it. In this article I’m only going to focus on some practical advice that I’ve found can decrease my patients’ pain within a few days.
In this video I explain the causes and treatment of gluteal tendinopathy in detail:
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1. Stop crossing your legs when you sit
It is usually the glute med and glute min tendons that are injured when you have a gluteal tendinopathy. When you cross your legs, you stretch those tendons and compress them over the hip bone. These tendons do not appreciate being compressed when they are injured and it can be one of the reasons why your pain is continuing.
2. Stand on both legs!
This may sound like a strange command but think about it – how often do you stand mainly on one leg and just drop your other hip so that you’re hanging off the supporting one? That position also caused A LOT of compression of the glute med and min tendons and can aggravate your pain further.
3. Avoid sitting in very soft, deep chairs
Once again compression is the problem. Part of the gluteal tendons are stretched and compressed when you sit with your hips in a lot of flexion e.g. when you sink into a deep chair. Try to stick to firm chairs that aren’t too low.
4. Sleep on your back or with two pillows between your legs
It makes sense that when you sleep on your injured side it compresses the injured tendons, causing pain. But my patients can often not understand why sleeping on the uninjured side also hurts their injured leg, despite it now being on top.
When you sleep with your injured side on top, the leg usually ends up dropping down slightly. This, once again, causes the tendons of the glute med and min to stretch and compress. If your tendon is very sensitive, it may cause pain immediately, but if your tendon is less aggravated it may take a few hours before the position becomes painful. In my experience using 1 pillow between your knees is often not enough. My patients tend to find that they have to use 2 pillows to get totally comfortable.
In case you find it too tricky to balance this tower of pillows while sleeping, sleeping on your back will of course eliminate the need for any pillows.
Need more help with your injury? You’re welcome to consult one of the team at SIP online via video call for an assessment of your injury and a tailored treatment plan.
About the Author
Maryke Louw is a chartered physiotherapist with more than 15 years' experience and a Masters Degree in Sports Injury Management. Follow her on LinkedIn, ResearchGate, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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