Can I Still Run With a Sore Gluteus Maximus Muscle?

If you're a runner, sore muscles are most likely a common occurrence. With glute pain from running, you need to be able to determine whether it's normal muscle soreness or sign of a possible injury before you hit the road again.

Muscle soreness is common after running — particularly in your thighs and buttocks. (Image: satamedia/iStock/GettyImages)

Tip

Muscle soreness is common after running — particularly in your thighs and buttocks. Whether you should run with a sore gluteus maximus muscle depends on the severity of your symptoms.

Gluteus Maximus and Running

The gluteus maximus muscle extends your hip joint, moving your leg behind your body, as described by ExRx.net. While running, this muscle functions differently in the leg you are standing on and the leg that is advancing.

On the stance side, your gluteus maximus helps propel your body forward. On the swing side — the leg that is in the air — your gluteus maximus helps control how quickly your center of mass moves forward, essentially "applying the brakes" to keep your body upright as you run, according to a study published in October 2014 by Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy.

Pain caused by an injury that occurs while running is often sharp or stabbing, and is usually felt when the affected leg contacts the ground. Gluteus maximus pain after running is most likely delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. This condition causes soreness within one to two days after activity, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). Microscopic tears occur during your running workout, which ultimately causes your muscles to get stronger.

Run, But Rest

So, what's the right answer? Is it OK to run with a sore booty? Examine your overall physical condition and exercise routine to help make an educated decision.

In some cases, exercise can help with mild soreness. As your muscles contract, blood flow to the area increases, bringing oxygen and nutrients for healing. However, if you have symptoms such as gluteus maximus pain when walking, exercise that involves your legs can be detrimental.

ACE recommends that training programs allow 48 to 72 hours of recovery between workouts to allow muscles adequate rest time. Larger muscles, such as the glutes, fall on the longer end of that scale. Muscles grow during your downtime — so inadequate rest can actually impede your performance.

However, this doesn't mean you can't do any exercise on your non-running days. Use this time to focus on upper body strengthening, flexibility or cross-training . Try some yoga or non-weightbearing activities such as swimming.

When to See a Doctor

Glute pain after running can make daily tasks, such as getting up from a chair, uncomfortable. However, if your pain impairs your ability to put weight on your leg, it's time to see a doctor. Just because your pain is located near your glute max doesn't mean the muscle is causing your symptoms.

Buttock pain can occur with a variety of conditions, such as a herniated disc in the lumbar spine, tightness in muscles deep to the glute max — such as the piriformis — and compression of the sciatic nerve that travels deep in your buttocks and down the back of your leg.

These conditions can cause additional symptoms, including pain that radiates down your leg and numbness or tingling. With prolonged nerve compression, you might even notice weakness in your leg muscles. If you experience sudden loss of bowel or bladder function, seek immediate medical care — this can indicate a serious issue with your spinal cord, according to Mayo Clinic.

Home Remedies for Sore Glutes

Home remedies can help relieve gluteus maximus pain after running. Try stretches as demonstrated by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, foam rolling and trigger point release to help speed your recovery.

In addition to stretching the gluteus maximus, stretch the piriformis which lies underneath the glute max and the iliotibial band, which is attached to the glute max by connective tissue.

Move 1: Knee to Chest Stretch

  1. Lie on your back on a firm surface.
  2. Lift one knee and bring it toward your chest.
  3. Wrap your arms around your leg, just below your knee. If you have knee issues, place your hands behind your knee joint.
  4. Gently pull your knee closer to your chest until you feel a stretch along your gluteus maximus.
  5. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then relax.
  6. Repeat three times on each leg.

Move 2: Piriformis Stretch

  1. Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Place your right hand on the ground behind you for support.
  2. Cross your right leg over your left, placing your right foot on the ground, on the outside of your left knee.
  3. Twist your torso to the right and place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee. Look over your right shoulder.
  4. Gently press your elbow into your knee to intensify the twist until you feel a stretch in your right buttocks.
  5. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then relax.
  6. Repeat three times on each side.

Move 3: IT Band Stretch

  1. Stand next to a firm object or wall for balance, if needed.
  2. Cross your right foot behind your left leg.
  3. Keeping your knees straight, lean your upper body to the left until you feel a stretch along the outside of your right hip.
  4. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then relax.
  5. Repeat three times on each leg.

Move 4: Foam Roller for Glutes

  1. Sit on a foam roller with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
  2. Cross your right ankle over your left knee.
  3. Shift your body weight onto your right buttock and place your right hand on the ground behind you for support.
  4. Roll up and down your right glutes for 10 passes.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.

Move 5: Trigger Point Release

  1. Sit on the ground or other firm surface.
  2. Find a knotted area of muscle in your glutes.
  3. Place tennis or lacrosse ball under the knot, then shift your weight onto the ball. This will be painful.
  4. Hold this pressure for up to a few minutes, until the pain subsides.
  5. Shift the ball to any other knotted areas and repeat.
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