Gluteus Maximus Injury

Many runners have the experience of hip muscle injury.  The hip has a few groups of muscles.  The biggest is gluteus maximus that is also the largest muscle of the body.

In running, gluteus maximus functions in three phases of a stride:

  1. Extension of the hip. This, together with the knee extension by quadriceps, pushes the body forward.
  2. Braking the flexion of the hip (or the lift of the thigh) .
  3. Stabilizing the body when the foot hits the ground.  

The injured part of gluteus maximus can be very deep and may be difficult to pinpoint. The trickiest part of gluteus maximus injury is its deceiving feature.  It usually generates dull pains.  Inexperienced runners may confuse that type of dull pain with soreness and increase training intensity until the pain gets worse and worse.  The dull pain sometimes comes on after a few miles of running; this may lead the runner to think it can be run over.  Unfortunately the effort to run over the dull pain exacerbates the injury and may set back the injury recover by weeks if a hard workout or race is carried out. 

To recover from gluteus maximus injury needs extra patience and caution.  However this injury has a good part that is it allows you to have a good volume of training during its recovery.  A runner can even log 60 to 70 miles per week in the middle of the recovery as long as the use of gluteus maximus is minimized.  To minimized its use,  one needs to keep short strides that minimize the hip extension and hip flexion braking provided by gluteus maximus..  Short strides also reduce the vibration of the body that is stabilized by gluteus maximus. One with this injury has to regain the original stride length extremely gradually.


(orginally written on 1/22/2002)

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