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Best Exercises for Gluteal Tendinopathy

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 17, 2020

Gluteal tendinopathy occurs when pain emanates from the upper leg and gluteal area, caused by a deterioration of the tendons there. Excessive activity or inactivity alike might cause the condition to develop. 

The most common symptoms of gluteal tendinopathy include pain or swelling in the hip, upper leg, or gluteal area. Sometimes the pain extends downward as far as the knee. People often report feeling it while climbing stairs or lying on their sides in bed. 

Exercise and physical therapy may stop the condition from worsening and even improve your mobility. As with all exercise, however, be sure to listen to your body and start out slow. 

Exercises to Help Gluteal Tendinopathy

These exercises for gluteal tendinopathy can help stimulate your tendons to heal and rebuild their strength. Your emphasis should be on methodical, deliberate motion, targeting only the affected areas of your body. 

Bridge

This exercise works your glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles. It should be performed on a soft mat or carpet. 

Step 1: Lay your back down on the floor, preferably resting your neck on a flat pillow. 

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Step 2: With the soles of your feet firmly planted against the floor, begin raising your hip toward the ceiling. 

Step 3: Lock your legs and hold when you reach a comfortable height and feel some tension. Stop if you feel any pain. Hold for 30 seconds and release. 

This is a gentle exercise that can be performed as many as five to 10 times per day. 

Step Ups

This is a simple exercise that can be done anywhere you find a slightly elevated surface. It works your gluteal muscles as well as the leg muscles beneath them. 

Step 1: Find an elevated surface, like the first step of a staircase, and plant your right foot firmly upon it. 

Step 2: Raise your left foot up onto the step as well, locking your buttocks and straightening your neck to maintain alignment with each other. 

Step 3: Lower both your feet back to the floor, one after the other, and repeat the entire exercise. 

Try this in sets of 30 to 60 seconds at a time, three times per day. 

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Static Abduction

This exercise works the hip, buttocks, and upper leg. You may want to try this while leaning against a wall at first. 

Step 1: Begin by standing with your feet a little wider than your hips. 

Step 2: Start sliding your legs gradually apart, as though doing a small split. Move slowly until you feel tension in the hip and buttock area. 

Step 3: Relax the split and return to the original position. Repeat the exercise three times. 

Try this at least once a day to gradually increase your flexibility. 

Single Leg Standing Stretch

This is a good exercise to follow static abductions with. It targets the gluteal muscles on either side of the hip.

Step 1: From a standing position, shift your weight onto your right foot. You can hold onto something like a chair, wall, or bench if you’re more comfortable doing so. 

Step 2: Gently let your left foot rise up off the floor until only the toes are touching the ground. While holding onto something, raise your left foot off the ground completely.

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Step 3: Keep your pelvis aligned in a straight line and balance yourself. Stop if you feel any pain in your hip.

Repeat this exercise at least once a day, balancing between five and 15 seconds on either foot. 

Single Leg Squat

This is a slightly more advanced version of the single leg standing stretch, so keep a chair or something else to hold onto close at hand. 

Step 1: From a standing position, carefully shift all your weight onto your right foot, letting your left heel, sole, and toes rise from the floor. 

Step 2: With the left leg elevated, carefully bend the right knee as far as you comfortably can. Let your pelvis shift backward so that your torso angles forward, aligning your neck and ears with your shoulders and hips as you do.

Step 3: Straighten your right leg to complete the squat. Each single leg squat should take three to four seconds going down and three to four seconds going up. 

You can repeat this three times for each leg at least once per day. 

Safety Considerations

Keep in mind that none of these exercises should cause you pain. These movements should lessen pain and build muscle strength over time, but you can hurt yourself if you push too hard too soon. 

Some soreness is normal after exercising. If you feel any muscle soreness, you may try stretching more before and after your exercise, exercise less frequently, or decrease the intensity of each exercise. Contact your doctor if the pain persists. 

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES: 

East Sussex Healthcare: “Gluteal Tendinopathy.”

Physiopedia: “Gluteal Tendinopathy.”

Women’s Health: “How to Prevent—And Deal With—Post-Workout Muscle Soreness.”

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