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(Pulled Gluteal Muscle)


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

Posterior Hip and Thigh Muscles
Posterior Thigh Muscles
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


This problem with the gluteal muscles may be caused by:

  • Stretching the muscles too far
  • Putting sudden stress on the muscles when they are not ready
  • A direct blow to the muscles

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Playing sports that need bursts of speed, such as track, basketball, soccer, football, and rugby
  • Prior gluteal injury
  • Tight gluteal muscles


Problems may be:

  • Pain and tenderness in the buttocks
  • Gluteal muscle stiffness or weakness
  • Bruising on the buttocks


You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Images may be needed if symptoms are severe. This can be done with an MRI scan .


How long it takes to heal depends on how badly the muscles are strained. Treatment will include:

  • Resting the area
  • Ice to ease pain and swelling
  • Compression bandages to help move fluids out of the area
  • Elevating the area to help fluids drain or prevent fluids from building up

Medicines may also be given to ease pain and swelling.


This problem may be prevented by:

  • Keeping the muscles strong to absorb the energy of sudden physical stress
  • Learning the proper technique for exercises and sports
  • Warming up the muscles slowly and stretching them properly


American Council on Exercise  http://www.acefitness.org 

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians  http://www.familydoctor.org 


Health Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine  http://www.casem-acmse.org 


Bourne MN, Timmins RG, Opar DA, et al. An evidence-based framework for strengthening exercises to prevent hamstring injury. Sports Med.2018;48(2):251-267.

Derry S, Moore RA, Gaskell H, McIntyre M, Wiffen PJ. Topical NSAIDs for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.2015;(6):CD007402.

Lehecka BJ, Edwards M, Haverkamp R, et al. Building a better gluteal bridge: Electromyographic analysis of hip muscle activity during modified single-leg bridges. Internat J Sports Phys Ther. 2017;12(4):543-549.

Muscle strains in the thigh. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00366. Updated September 2019. Accessed July 29, 2020.

Sports-related groin pain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/sports-related-groin-pain  . Updated October 31, 2019. Accessed July 29, 2020.

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