Gluteal amnesia is when you are unable to activate and engage your gluteal muscles. This is problematic as the glutes are some of the largest and strongest muscles in your body. The gluteus maximus, medius and minimus make up the gluteal muscle group. We rely on these muscles for many movements, such as walking, running, but also for helping to keep our pelvis and legs in line. When the gluteals are not engaging well, we start to rely on other muscles to take over. This can lead to other problems such as back pain, knee pain and muscle strains.
What Causes Gluteal Amnesia?
Gluteal amnesia can result from a few different causes. A common one comes from excessive sitting. This causes a lengthening through the gluteal muscles and a tightening through the hip flexors muscles (muscles on the front of your hip). This can lead to an anterior pelvic tilt, meaning your pelvis is tilting forwards. This will effect your posture and body mechanics. Additionally, gluteal amnesia can result from over training certain muscle groups like quadriceps and hamstring, while forgetting about your gluteal muscles.
How Can Physiotherapy Help For Gluteal Amnesia?
Physiotherapy can help for gluteal amnesia in a variety of ways, such as:
- Releasing out tight muscles that were compensating for the lack of gluteal engagement
- Correction of posture, body mechanics and muscle imbalances
- Activation and “waking up” of gluteal muscles
- Tailored strengthening program
What Should Be Avoided With Gluteal Amnesia?
If you are experiencing gluteal amnesia, try to limit your amount of sitting during the work day. Having the option to switch between a seated and standing desk set up is ideal. In general, be careful with your workout routines to balance out your exercises to target each muscle group.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from Gluteal Amnesia?
The timeline for recovery from gluteal amnesia can vary. To begin to see a functional change in strength, it takes at least 6 to 8 weeks. However with gluteal amnesia we are also tackling posture, and muscle activation so the timeline can be longer than that.
What are some Home Exercises for Gluteal Amnesia?
Below are some suggestions of exercises to engage your gluteal muscles and stretches:
Side Skater Leg Lift
- Lying on your side, keep your hips stacked on top of each other
- Roll a little bit forwards, almost like you feel you are going to roll onto your stomach
- Keeping your top leg straight, lift it up and backwards on a diagonal, as though you are doing an ice skating motion
- PROGRESSION: use a resistance band around your thighs
Prone Leg Lift
- Lying on your stomach, bend your knee to 90 degrees
- Squeeze your gluteal muscles
- Next lift your knee slightly off the ground
- Lower leg to the ground and repeat
- Lying on your back with your knees bent so your feet are flat on the floor. Have your feet about hip width apart
- Lift your toes up, this way you will be pushing through your heels
- Next lift your hips up off the floor into a bridge
- *** If you feel this in your hamstring, position your feet so they are closer to your buttocks. If you feel this in your lower back, position your feel further away from your buttocks
- PROGRESSION: use a resistance band around your thighs, work to keep your knees in line with your feet during bridging motion
Hip Flexor Stretch
- In a half kneeling position with one knee on the floor (this is the hip that will be stretched) and the other foot flat on the floor in front. You will be in a lunge like position
- Tuck your hips under, like you are trying to tuck a tail between your legs
- Maintaining that tuck, shift forwards over your front leg until you feel a stretch on the front of your hip
- Hold 30 sec, repeat
- Standing, place one foot on about a 6 inch step
- Keeping your leg and knee straight, hinge forwards through your hip. Don’t round through your backward
- Hold 30 sec, repeat
This article is a general overview and guideline only. It is always important to see your registered physiotherapist so your own unique needs in rehabilitation or prevention of injuries can be addressed. Contact us today if you are suffering from this condition and would like to book with one of our experienced physiotherapists.