Gluteal tendinopathy

June 15, 2022

What’s a tendinopathy? 

When one or more of your tendon is loaded above its capacity it will begin to change and become painful . This results in a more sensitive tendon which has a reduced capacity for load. 

Signs and symptoms 

Commonly presents with pain over the big hip bone felt on your side. Sometimes symptoms can spread all around your hip even down the thigh and knee 

May be worse during running or hopping, climbing stairs or hills and crossing your legs. 

Is twice as common in women particularly younger females that play sport or perimenopausal females 

How did it happen? Increased load!

Loads complex and never comes from one source. “Poor movement patterns” or “weak gluts” usually get the blame but it’s usually more complex than that. Here are a few examples of load being too great for a tendons capacity 

Let’s use an easy example first: you’re signing up to F45 to kickstart a fitness goal. You’ve been inactive for a while (reduced capacity) and you get back squatting / jumping / all the stuff you haven’t been doing for a while in the gym (increased load) 

Here’s an example where load might change: You’re a runner deciding to get off the road and onto the trails! You haven’t increased the kilometres you run per peak (one measure of load) but all of a sudden you’re running a ton more on uneven surfaces up and down hills (increased load) 

Now for a less obvious one: You love pushing yourself in the gym and have done for a long time. You stick to the same routine and program (unchanged load). You’ve recently changed jobs though and this new job’s very demanding (increased load), you start sleeping less to meet deadlines (increased load) and now your hip is hurting! 

Finding ways to get stronger or more coordinated will always help, but in each one of the examples above there’s a more complex load that might not initially seem obvious that needs to be managed for an optimal outcome. 

What should I do? 

The pains being caused by a load / capacity mismatch. That load is often not so obvious and it’s never just one thing. The key is figuring out how to reduce your load to a point where your pain is at an acceptable level. 

Some of these loads will be out of your control, others might come from physical activity that has recently changed – modifying that load is usually the easiest way to to get your pain under control. 

The other part of the picture is building capacity – there’s a million different ways to do this and it will go much further than some glut band exercises. Whatever weaknesses you’ve got, whatever you need more exposure to or more coordination with, we’ll improve that! 

If you’re a runner 

If your main activity is running and you’re got hip pain it’s worth doing a gait analysis. Things like a low step rate can be a factor which can help a great deal with hip pain if addressed 

Can’t go wrong getting strong 

A stronger hip joint is one that’s less likely to be in pain, loading should start with slow heavy shortened range movements which are more manageable gradually progressing the speed and range as the pain starts to subside. 

Let’s get this sorted! 

  • If you are experiencing any gluteal tendinopathy, contact our physiotherapists to discuss how they can help you.