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Gluteal Tendinopathy - What you need to know

This blog is a basic introduction to the concepts of tendinopathy. If you are experiencing pain in your glutes, or on the side of your hip we recommend to see a physiotherapist for a diagnosis or see an Accredited Exercise Physiologists for appropriately prescribed exercises. 

To really understand why you might be diagnosed with gluteal tendinopathy it is important to understand a few things. 

Gluteal Tendinopathy and its associated lateral (side of your hip) pain is the most common form of hip tendonitis and hip tendon injury. Gluteal tendinopathy is also know as gluteus Medius tendinopathy or gluteal tendinitis. 

Your Body Made Simple

Firstly understand, tendon is a flexible but though fibrous band of connective tissue that is responsible for attaching muscle to bone. 

I like to explain tendon issues to my clients by relating it to an old horse and cart. 

  • The horse represents the muscle. The horse provides power for movement. 
  • The cart represents our skeletal system and the load for the horse (muscles) to pull. 
  • The ropes that attach the cart to the horse are our tendons. 

When moving in our day to day lives, we want to ensure that their is good integrity in the ropes that hold the cart to the horse. We also want to ensure that the cart moves as efficiently as possible. 

Unfortunately even if we have the best intentions of moving in our day to day lives, our muskuloskeletal system does not always perform these functions well. 

From a Pilates perspective this really highlights the importance of key Pilates principles when prescribing movement especially when there is already pain present in the body

a) Looking at alignment of the skeletal system

b) The ability to control a muscle and tendon as they work through their range of motion

c) Precision of movement 

We understand from research that LOAD is considered to the the primary stimulus which drives tendon health forward along the continuum. What does this mean?

a) Low load - Not prioritising resistance style exercise will result in tendon decreasing in size or further degenerating. Especially with unavoidable issues within the horse and cart system, or the cart not moving efficiently. 

b) High Load  will result in inflammation and further tendon degeneration. 

c) The "Goldilocks Zone" will result in tendon growth and repair. 

What does all this really mean?

To appropriately treat pain present in your body there are many factors to consider. For those exercising regularly in an un supervised environment it is important to not push through excessive pain in your joints. We recommend seeing an Exercise Professional to assist with developing a plan to appropriately load your joints.