A group of three muscles in the buttocks, the gluteal muscle is not easily strained, but when it is, it can be tender, painful and sore to the touch. Although it is not a common injury, it does and can occur most often in athletes of all varieties, especially dancers and runners.
The definition of gluteal strain is a partial tear in the small muscles of the gluteal muscle (for more on this see: http://www.aurorahealthcare.org/yourhealth/healthgate/getcontent.asp?URLhealthgate=%2211829.html%22).
Exercises that involve bursts of speed can cause gluteal strain, as can over taxing these muscles by sretching, bending or jumping.
These types of exercises can include all sports which call for a great deal of intense running, including basketball, football, soccer, rugby, hurdles and the long jump.
Dance, too can cause a strain on the muscles which comprise the gluteal area; the jumps, leaps, bends and stretching done by dancers is another way of pressuring and possibly straining these muscles.
Weather can also influence the straining of the gluteal muscle. Colder weather may exacerbate an already sore set of muscles or may contribute to a strain if not warmed up properly. Taking time to warm up muscles and keeping muscles warm during dance or sports activities is a very important part of preventing gluteal strain.
Rest is the initial prescription for strained gluteal muscles. Refraining from dancing, jumping, running or involving the muscles in any exertion will help to heal the tear and recover the strained muscles.
Another method of alleviating swelling and pain is to apply an ice pack several times a day to the buttocks. This will reduce swelling and inflammation and relieve the pain as well. Taking ibuprofin, acetaminophen and aspirin in moderation are also recommended for pain and inflammation.
There are three levels of injury and each are different in severity, requiring different lengths of time for recovery. The more severe a strain, the more likely it will be that a physician recommends an MRI to determine the exact severity and the probable recovery period.