Tendinitis of your glute tendons leads to pain on the outside of your hip.¬† With gluteal tendinitis, hip pain interferes with your sleep, walking, climbing stairs, and many other functional activities.¬†¬† Approximately 10% to 25% of the population will experience this disorder.¬† And 1 in 4 women over 50 years old develop chronic hip pain. ¬†This article shows you 5 helpful exercises that will help you overcome glute tendinitis.
What Causes Gluteal Tendinitis?
Gluteal tendinitis commonly occurs in sedentary people.¬† However, it is also present in many athletes, especially runners.¬† The condition begins with mild inflammation around your hip tendon and bursa.¬† Many people are diagnosed with ‚Äúhip bursitis‚ÄĚ but the primary problem is your glute tendons.¬† After a short period of inflammation, your tendon starts to weaken and break down.¬† This leads to pain that worsens with time.
The problem begins when your glute tendons are loaded in an abnormal way.¬† Under normal activities and loads, your hip tendons will remain in a state of equilibrium. or even become stronger.¬† Slightly increase your activity and load to your tendons, and they will respond by becoming stronger.¬† However, when the load becomes too much, your tendons will start to break down.¬† Also, the absence of any load (through inactivity) weakens your tendons leading to a progressive breakdown.
So in order to maintain strong and healthy tendons, you must regularly subject them to normal or slightly elevated loads.¬† This is done through regular activity and exercise.¬† Do too much or too little and your tendons will weaken.¬† Then a cascade of events leads to chronic pain.
What Types of Exercises are Proven to Help Gluteal Tendinitis?
Fortunately, there are several types of exercise that help.¬† The key to any exercise program is to begin with the right load or intensity.¬† Then, your exercises must be slowly progressed to increase the load to your tendons.¬† With consistent exercise, your tendon will become stronger and less painful.¬† This takes time but it is your best long-term solution.
A 2018 study published in the British Medical Journal compared the effectiveness of isometric and isotonic exercise for people with glute tendon pain.¬† Both programs consisted of daily home exercise for 12 weeks and 8 physical therapy sessions. Both programs lead to significant improvement after the 12-week program.¬† The isometric exercise group reported a 19% decrease in pain.¬† The isotonic exercise group showed a 17% decrease in pain.
What Specific Exercises are Best for Gluteal Tendinitis?
We recommend you do both isometric and isotonic hip strengthening exercises. Isometric exercises use static muscle holds usually lasting 6 seconds or more.¬† Isometrics can be done lying down or in standing (shown below).
Isotonic exercises are a more traditional approach where the muscle is lengthened and shortened in a slow fashion.¬† Bridging, side-lying hip abduction, the pelvic drop, and sit-to-stand exercises are examples of isotonic exercises.
Doing the glute bridge with your feet staggered slightly increases the load to your affected glute tendons. This is a great isotonic exercise to start with. ¬†Be sure to perform each repetition slowly.¬† Concentrate on squeezing your glute at the top.¬† Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions each day.
Weight-Bearing Glute Isometric Holds
This is a great isometric exercise to begin with.¬† Keep in mind that you will be standing on your affected side and lifting your unaffected leg.¬† Hold for a minimum of 6 seconds (and up to 10 seconds).¬† Concentrate on squeezing your glute and keeping your body straight.¬† Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions each day.
Side-Lying Hip Abduction
Add this exercise after a week or 2 of doing the offset bridge.¬† It is important that you remain balanced and completely on your side.¬† Do not allow your body or hip to roll back.¬† Do 3 sets of 12 to 15 repetitions with both legs each day.
Sit to Stand + Band Abduction
Doing a squat or sit-to-stand movement with a band around your thighs loads your hip muscles and tendons.¬† Keep tension on the band throughout the exercise.¬† Move slowly and squeeze your glutes when you stand at the top.¬† Do 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions each day.
This is a more advanced exercise.¬† We recommend you do the other 4 exercises for at least a month before trying the pelvic drop.¬† To lighten the load, you can do the exercise without the step.¬† It is ok to hold on to the wall or a chair for balance.¬† Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions each day.
Your Physical Therapist Will Keep You on Track
Remember, any tendon injury is slow to heal.¬† But the right exercises, in the right amount, will jump-start the healing process.¬† When getting started, it is better to go slow.¬† Begin with the offset bridging exercise and isometric holds.¬† After a few weeks, add in the side-lying and sit-to-stand exercises.¬† If things are going well, in another few weeks add in the pelvic drop.
Be patient and expect some ups and downs along the way.¬† But if you are consistent with your exercises, expect significant improvement in 2 to 3 months.¬† To become completely pain-free, there are other treatments that will help.¬† Manual therapy done by your physical therapist and specific stretching exercise will expedite your recovery.
For more help, call our office and schedule an initial evaluation with your physical therapist.¬† The physical therapists at BSR have been helping people in Southern Ocean County move without pain since 2007.¬† We are always here to help.