The gluteal muscles/glutes comprise the buttocks. They are a powerful muscle group that consists of three muscles. The gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The glute muscles help power physical performance and daily movements like walking, standing, and sitting and help to prevent injuries to the core, back, abdominal muscles, and other supporting muscles and tissues. Individuals can develop a glute imbalance where one side becomes more dominant and activates more or is higher than the other. An imbalance that is not addressed can lead to further muscle imbalance, posture problems, and pain issues. Injury Medical Chiropractic and Functional Medicine Clinic can develop a personalized treatment plan to relieve symptoms and restore alignment, balance, and health.
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Strong, healthy glutes promote lumbopelvic stability and rhythm, meaning they keep the low back and pelvis in correct alignment to prevent strains and injuries. Glute imbalance occurs when one side of the glutes is larger, stronger, or more dominant. Glute imbalances are common and part of normal human anatomy, as the body is not perfectly symmetrical. Shifting and utilizing the more dominant side when taking on weight or picking up objects is normal, so the one side gets bigger. Just as an individual prefers one hand, arm, and leg over another, one glute side can work harder and become stronger.
There are several causes of glute muscle imbalance, including:
When pain presents in one body area, signals are sent to caution the other muscles to contract/tighten as a protective mechanism to prevent further injury. These changes alter movement patterns, leading to muscular imbalances in the glutes and other areas. Individuals who do not rehabilitate from an injury properly can be left with an imbalance.
This condition needs to be addressed to prevent further injuries and issues with posture. Treatment varies depending on the individual and the extent of the problem. A treatment plan to prevent and improve some forms of glute imbalance may include the following.
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Buckthorpe, Matthew, et al. “ASSESSING AND TREATING GLUTEUS MAXIMUS WEAKNESS – A CLINICAL COMMENTARY.” International Journal of sports physical therapy vol. 14,4 (2019): 655-669.
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Lin CI, Khajooei M, Engel T, et al. The effect of chronic ankle instability on muscle activations in lower extremities. Li Y, ed. PLoS ONE. 2021;16(2):e0247581. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0247581
Pool-Goudzwaard, A. L. et al. “Insufficient lumbopelvic stability: a clinical, anatomical and biomechanical approach to ‘a-specific’ low back pain.” Manual therapy vol. 3,1 (1998): 12-20. doi:10.1054/math.1998.0311
Vazirian, Milad, et al. “Lumbopelvic rhythm during trunk motion in the sagittal plane: A review of the kinematic measurement methods and characterization approaches.” Physical therapy and Rehabilitation vol. 3 (2016): 5. doi:10.7243/2055-2386-3-5
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