A tendon injury causes gluteal tendinopathy. The condition causes chronic hip pain that’s often severe. It can affect your ability to be active, sleep well and enjoy life. Unlike tendinitis, tendinopathy rarely gets better with rest. You can ease symptoms and regain mobility with physical therapy.
Gluteal tendinopathy is a type of tendon disorder in your hips and buttocks area (gluteal region). The disorder causes the tendon tissue to break down or deteriorate. Gluteal tendinopathy is a common cause of hip pain, especially in older women. Physical therapy exercises can help, although some people need other interventions.
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Your tendons are strong, flexible tissues that connect your muscles to your bones. These parts of your musculoskeletal system work together to help you move, run, walk, sit and stand. When something irritates, inflames or injures your tendons, you experience musculoskeletal pain.
Gluteal tendinopathy affects the tendons that connect to your buttocks muscles. These include the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. These muscles run from your hipbone (pelvis) to your greater trochanter. The greater trochanter is the ridge at the top of your thighbone (femur).
People assigned female at birth who are over 40, especially those who have completed menopause, are more prone to hip pain and gluteal tendinopathy. The condition also affects younger people who run, ski and dance. As many as 1 in 3 people with lower back pain also develop hip pain from gluteal tendinopathy.
Several conditions can affect the tendons in your hips and glutes, causing pain. But their underlying causes and treatments are different.
Gluteal tendinopathy can occur from tendon overuse or underuse. Potential causes include:
The most notable sign of gluteal tendinopathy is moderate to severe hip pain. This pain extends down the outside of your leg to your knee or lower leg. You may also experience lower back pain, groin pain or gluteal pain. The pain often starts at the greater trochanter at the top of your thighbone. This area may feel tender to touch.
The pain may feel worse when you:
Your healthcare provider will evaluate your symptoms and perform a physical examination. You may get an MRI or ultrasound to look for tendon injuries or inflammation. Many conditions can cause hip pain. A correct diagnosis is critical to proper treatment and a faster recovery.
About half of people with gluteal tendinopathy will get better without treatment — but symptom relief may take up to a year. That’s a long time to live with hip pain, especially when 7 out of 10 people with the condition see significant improvements with eight weeks of physical therapy exercises. Other people may need surgery to mend a torn tendon.
You may also benefit from:
These tips may lower your risk of developing hip pain and gluteal tendinopathy:
Severe, chronic pain from gluteal tendinopathy can affect your quality of life. It can interfere with your ability to work, exercise and socialize. You may experience fatigue and irritability if the pain affects your sleep. Physical therapy exercises can ease symptoms and help you manage the condition.
Call your healthcare provider if you experience:
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If you have severe hip pain that affects your ability to exercise, sleep or comfortably move, you should see your healthcare provider. Many conditions, including gluteal tendinopathy, can cause hip pain. But the pain is usually more severe and chronic with gluteal tendinopathy. You may need imaging tests to pinpoint the precise cause of your hip pain. This tendon problem rarely gets better without treatment. Rest also doesn’t help. Your provider can start you on physical therapy exercises to improve your mobility and ease symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/03/2022.
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