Glute injuries are something that you should pay attention to because they can really affect your quality of life in addition to your prospects for returning to your sport as quickly as possible. Here are a few things that you can and should do after a glute injury in order to minimize the potential of further injury, the amount of pain you feel, and the amount of time it’s going to take to get you back in the saddle of your chosen sport.
Determine Injury Severity
One of the first things you need to do after determining that your glute muscle has been strained is to determine just how bad it is if possible. It’s a common muscle to strain or injury because you use it constantly in athletic activities. Anytime you run for any length of time, or do any kind of quick sprint from a slow or standing position, or jump, or do nearly anything else with your legs that’s strenuous, a glute strain is going to be possible.
The injury is usually graded going from minimal to moderate and then severe. It’s good to have a sense of the severity or your best guess at it in order to determine what you should do next. Obviously, you should ideally head to a doctor in order to get the best idea about this, but you can get a general sense just by paying attention to how it feels. Going to a local clinic is always a secondary option to, such as those available at local places like CVS.
If you only have minor pain in the area and your hip is moving fine, then it’s likely more of a minimal strain, for example. If it’s more like moderate or severe pain, and you can’t move your hip without difficulty, then you could have something more severe. You may even need a surgical solution if you’ve physically torn the muscle.
The important thing is to make this determination quickly after it the injury occurs. You should head to the sideline immediately and either walk around a bit to determine what happened, or consult someone at the sporting or other types of event, or anyone nearby who can help.
Reflexive Inhibition or the “Switching Off” Phenomenon
One danger that you have with a glute injury is that your body automatically stops using a particular muscle that’s become strained and instead uses other muscles around the strained one in order to get the same work done. This is known as “reflexive inhibition” and its purpose is to make sure that you don’t end up with more injury than is necessary to the area. Obviously, when the muscle is badly strained, you need to make sure that you don’t use it too much which can aggravate the strain, which is why your body acts that way.
However, the danger is that this habit will continue too much and your body will become habituated to using different muscles than the ones that they should be using. If you’re feeling a strain in areas around the glute too, this could be the reason why. If this is the case, then the injury is definitely serious enough to get checked out because it could actually be something more than just a glute strain, there could be a tear in the glute, or, there could be other issues related to nerves.
On the other hand, it’s also possible that you’ve just been off the muscle long enough that it’s atrophied a bit. It’s recommended that you put your hand on the glute and try to activate the muscle by squeezing it a bit in order to feel it and get it moving. This is often sufficient to get the muscle moving and activated again. It’s often just a bad habit of the body to avoid using the muscle after an injury. Reminding your body the muscle is still there and working better now after enough time has passed after an injury can often help.
General Butt Rehab
What you need to do in order to rehabilitate the muscle is stretch, focus on strengthening exercises, and even a bit of an aerobic exercise that helps get oxygen flowing into the area. It is important to do this gently, of course, but keeping active with the muscle a bit will help to make sure that it doesn’t stiffen up.
If you do aerobic exercises with glutes, it will encourage the area to continue healing. Recommended exercises for this include doing full squats or running on an incline. You can also use kinesiology tape over the area pain while you exercise.
Glute Exercises for Recovery
There are a number of different options you can use for recovering from a glute injury. Here are some examples:
- Changing the Position of Your Feet: The idea is that you should change where your feet are in relation to your glutes. You want a healthy alignment. This is going to take some experimentation, but sometimes very gently and very lightly rotating your foot a degree or two, or shifting your leg back and forth while walking can make a big difference when it comes to comfort and healing.
- Posture Maximization: This option can be especially useful for tennis players since posture matters so much when you’re playing on the court in order to make sure the shock of movement is absorbed properly by your glute muscles. You want to make sure your feet are positioned underneath you and that you aren’t overextending, for example.
- Sitting Positions: When your torso is flexing too much in juxtaposition to the upper part of your legs, this can cause your hip flexor muscles to shorten and become tense, which in turn puts a strain on your glute muscles. This is obviously an issue when you’re recovering from a glute injury. There are special chairs that can help with this, but it’s also important to lie back a bit and take pressure off those areas.
- Knee and Glute
Stretches: Another exercise option that can help tremendously is to lie on your stomach and then bend your left leg at the knee. Squeeze your glute there and raise the knee off the ground for 60 seconds. Make sure that you don’t overdo it, however.
- Bridges: There are a few different bridge-related options you can use for improving your gluteal muscles. For example, there’s the one-legged bridge where you keep your heels close to your glutes and put your arms on either side of your body. Then, you lift your leg and straighten it while keeping it aloft. Next, you push your hips upwards with your other heel. This will contract your glutes as well as your hamstrings. Again, it’s important to not push it too much if you’re overly injured and your glutes aren’t ready yet. There’s definitely going to be a balance between making sure the glute doesn’t atrophy and pushing it too hard to the point of over injury.