A strained gluteal muscle is a partial or complete tear of the small fibers of the gluteal muscles. The gluteal muscles are a group of 3 muscles in the buttocks.

Posterior Hip and Thigh Muscles

Posterior Thigh Muscles
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A gluteal strain can be caused by:

  • Stretching the gluteal muscles beyond the amount of tension that they can withstand
  • Suddenly putting stress on the gluteal muscles when they are not ready for the stress
  • A direct blow to the gluteal muscles

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of getting gluteal strain include:

  • Participation in sports that require bursts of speed. This includes track sports like running, hurdles, or long jump. Other sports include basketball, soccer, football, or rugby.
  • Previous gluteal injury
  • Fatigue
  • Overexertion
  • Tight gluteal muscles


Symptoms may include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the buttocks
  • Stiffness in the gluteal muscles
  • Weakness of the gluteal muscles
  • Bruising on the buttocks


You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Most gluteal strains can be diagnosed with a physical exam. Images may be needed if severe damage is suspected. Images may be taken with MRI scan.

Muscle strains are graded according to their severity:

  • Grade 1—Some stretching with micro-tearing of muscle fibers
  • Grade 2—Partial tearing of muscle fibers
  • Grade 3—Complete tearing of muscle fibers; this may also be called a rupture or avulsion


Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Recovery time ranges depending on the grade of your injury. Treatment steps may include:

Supportive Care

Your muscles will need time to heal. RICE is often the main part of treatment:

  • Rest—Activities will need to be restricted at first. Normal activities will be reintroduced gradually.
  • Ice—Ice therapy may help relieve swelling. Heat or cold may be advised throughout recovery if they provide benefits.
  • Compression—Used for a limited time, compression bandages can provide gentle pressure to help move fluids out of the area.
  • Elevation—Keeping the area elevated can help fluids drain out or prevent fluids from building up.

Prescription or over-the-counter medications may be advised to reduce pain.


To reduce the chance that you will strain a gluteal muscle:

  • Keep your gluteal muscles strong so they can absorb the energy of sudden physical stress.
  • Learn the proper technique for exercise and sporting activities. This will decrease stress on all your muscles, including your gluteal muscles.