Gluteal Tendinopathy Running | Gluteal Tendinopathy Exercises
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Gluteal Tendinopathy Running

What is a Gluteal Tendinopathy?

This condition refers to pain at the outer side of the hip joint. It is often referred to as greater trochanteric pain syndrome. Gluteal Tendinopathy can become quite painful and disabling during and after sports or normal daily life activities such as long walks.

Gluteal Tendinopathy tends to affect women more than men, particularly those aged over 40. The term “Gluteal tendinopathy” simply indicates pain and dysfunction within the gluteal tendons, particularly Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus.

Gluteal Tendinopathy was traditionally known as “trochanteric bursitis”, due to the presence of a bursa between the gluteal tendons and the greater trochanter. The greater trochanter is a bony protuberance palpable at the side of the hip. Nevertheless, recent research suggests that lateral hip pain is mainly explained by an overload or underload of the gluteal tendons. This leads us to believe that the trochanteric bursa may only play a secondary role in the symptoms.

What causes Gluteal Tendinopathy?

Generally speaking, the majority of tendinopathies in runners occur as a result of progressive tissue overload. A sudden increase in training load (intensity, volume, speed, hill work) may contribute to the development of symptoms.

On top of that, gluteal tendons are sensitive to certain hip positions. Gluteal Tendinopathy exercises to avoid and general day-to-day activities to avoid:

  • standing while hanging on one hip
  • sitting with crossed legs
  • running with a cross-midline foot contact ground pattern
  • running on the camber of a road
  • running in the same direction around a track

These positions exert a compressive load between the gluteal tendons and the greater trochanter, thus potentially increasing gluteal tendinitis symptoms.

Gluteal Tendinopathy Symptoms?

Pain within the region of the lateral hip is the most common complaint in runners with gluteal tendinopathy. When the condition is more irritable, symptoms may spread down the outer side of the thigh. It may be difficult to lay on it your side at night. This can lead to disrupted sleep.

There may be some degree of stiffness in the early morning upon standing up or before starting a run. It is common to improve after some initial stiffness on a run but can be worse the following morning. Some other common aggravating factors include standing on one leg to dress, climbing stairs, or hills.

Which are the treatment options for Gluteal tendinopathy?

During the initial stages, settling down the symptoms and finding coping strategies for a better night’s sleep is the best course of action. Careful consideration should be given to avoiding postures that exert a compressive load on the tendons. For this reason, piriformis or ITB stretches should be avoided as they could potentially exacerbate symptoms in this case. If running brought on the symptoms, a reduction in running volume is recommended.

Gluteal Tendinopathy Exercises

A progressive loading program is prescribed for the gluteal tendons. At first, simple isometric exercises are performed to induce an analgesic response, with long periods of contraction (45 seconds) at an 80% level of effort. After that, heavier exercises should be performed to induce positive tissue adaptation on the gluteal tendons. Typical Gluteal Tendinopathy exercises include:

  • Side Step-up
  • Lateral Lunge
  • Resisted Hip Abduction
  • Side Planks
  • Single-Leg Squats

Before you start running again, it may be beneficial to perform a running analysis to check for any biomechanical issue that may be contributing to your symptoms. Working thoroughly on your gait pattern with a Physiotherapist will ensure this problem does not come back.

Other treatment options for Gluteal Tendonitis?

An alternative treatment modality for gluteal tendinopathy is Shock Wave Therapy. However, its efficacy may be limited to pain reduction at the initial stages of the pathology, whilst failing to provide a loading stimulus that is necessary for the complete resolution of symptoms.

Physiotherapy At Flawless Physio

If you are experiencing pain on the outside of your thigh and would like some advice on diagnosis and management, please get in touch.

We offer Private Physiotherapy via Online Appointments for £40 and Face-to-Face appointments for £70 in our clinics.