The hip rotator muscles are easily injured if you are an active person. These muscles include the gluteal muscles and the tiny joint-stabilizing muscles under your glutes. Pain in your hip rotator may be the result of tight muscles, a compressed nerve, muscle strains, ligaments sprains or inflamed bursas. The best thing you can do to immediately treat an injured hip is to stop any activity you are doing that causes pain.
Once you have ceased activity, sit on a bag of ice or a cold pack for 10 minutes, controlling pain and swelling. Consider taking a nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medicine such as aspirin to further help reduce pain and swelling, preventing damage to the surrounding tissues. Apply the ice pack under your buttocks again two more times throughout the first day and a total of three times per day for the following two days. On the fourth day, sit on a heat pack such as a sock that has been filled with dry rice, tied and then heated for two minutes. You may need to place a thin towel between the hot sock and your buttocks. Use the heat pack for 10 minutes three times a day for two days. If your hip rotators are still painful, seek advanced care with a physical therapist.
Prior to performing any rehab stretches or strengthening exercises, you should always warm up. This entails applying a hot pack to your recovering muscles for 10 minutes. Then do a light aerobic activity for 10 minutes such as an easy walk on the treadmill or using the elliptical at a low resistance level. Furthermore, once your hip rotators are healed, incorporate a light warm-up with a few minutes of stretching prior to any aerobic or lower-body workout, reducing the likelihood you will re-injure your hip rotator.
Stretching rehabilitative exercises should be done after your warm-up, helping realign the new scar tissue with the natural direction of your hip rotator muscle fibers. This is crucial to regaining near-normal strength and flexibility of your hip rotators. If you do not stretch your muscles as part of your rehab program, scar tissue will remain permanently in place, arranged in a haphazard fashion. Unorganized scar tissue limits the ability of your hip rotator muscles to stretch and contract effectively. Stretches should be held for 15 to 30 seconds and performed for two to four repetitions.
Injured muscles lose their ability to function properly. Furthermore, inactive muscles quickly lose their strength. Once you begin your rehabilitative strengthening exercises for your hip rotators, you must start with very light weights. It is essential you start slowly, preventing aggravation of the healing tissues so that you can continue to increase the strength of your hip rotators. Strengthening exercises should be performed for three sets of 15 repetitions. You may do lying or standing glute extensions by keeping your working leg straight; point your toes outward then contract your right glute to push your right thigh backward. Increase the intensity and volume of your training based on your rehab progress.
- “Examination of Musculoskeletal Injuries”; Sandra Shultz, Ph.D., Peggy Houglum, Ph.D., and David Perrin, Ph.D.; 2005
- “Therapeutic Exercise for Musculoskeletal Injuries”; Peggy Houglum, Ph.D.; 2005