Ischiogluteal bursitis is a condition affecting the bursa sac of the lower buttock. Bursas are sacs of fluid around the body which help to provide necessary friction reduction between muscle (or tendon) and bone. The ischiogluteal bursa is situated at the bottom of the pelvis above the hamstring muscle. It is often inflamed due to repetitive motions associated with sports activities.
Pain will be present at the join between the pelvis, where the buttock ends, and the hamstring muscle. This may be worsened or most acute when attempting to stretch the hamstring or bending and straightening the knee. Any resistance (a weight, for example) used during these movements is likely to increase the pain, as is sitting for prolonged periods. Many activities can provoke a dull ache or rigidity in the joint; these include sprinting and walking, kicking, climbing and jumping. If the pain from such activities is very sharp then this may indicate that the injury has significantly progressed. Other possible symptoms include weakness or fatigue in the affected leg, and a feeling of tenderness or pain upon touching the ischiogluteal bursa area.
The condition is generally caused by extensive or repetitive pressure on the bursa. This can occur as a result of significant repeated kicking, running or jumping, which are all strenuous and potentially damaging to the bursa and hamstring areas. The likelihood of causing injury through these activities is increased with the amount of time you partake in them, especially with weakened muscles, or without taking breaks or warming up sufficiently. Sitting down on hard surfaces for long or unnecessary periods can also contribute to the condition. In some cases the bursitis is caused spontaneously by a hard fall onto the area, such as a cycling or horse riding accident.
Consult a doctor who will diagnose the injury and its severity using a physical exam or tests such as an x-ray or MRI scan. They will emphasise the importance of refraining from any activity which causes pain to the area, and it is crucial to be strict about this in order to keep the condition from becoming chronic. It may be possible to replace this training with other routines that do not require the use of injured areas. Ice the area a few times per day in the first 3 days to combat pain and inflammation, and apply a compression bandage if feasible. Elevating the leg can also reduce swelling. Taking anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen can improve recovery time.
Physical Therapy and Recovery
As the injury begins to recover it is important to maintain mobility and muscle strength. Talk to a doctor or physical therapist who will recommend suitable stretches and strengthening exercises, often building incrementally as the pain decreases. They can also advise on the correct time to begin a return to normal activity. With responsible treatment this can be within weeks, though in some cases can take months (if the condition is chronic or went undiagnosed for a long time).
Adjust your training routine to incorporate breaks and suitable warm ups. Make sure that you are not overdoing certain exercises, as this will only be detrimental.
- avulsion fracture
- groin strain
- ischiogluteal bursitis
- piriformis syndrome
- sacral stress fractures