Glute Strengthening and its role in preventing lower limb injuries
In the past couple of years, researchers have placed more focus on the role of the gluteal muscles groups in preventing and rehabilitating lower limb injuries. In particular, studies have focused on its role in correcting dysfunctional movement patterns that often lead to acute or overuses injuries such as an ACL tear, patellar dislocation, patellar tendinopathy, ITB syndrome, trochanteric bursitis, and patellofemoral syndrome (PFPS).
The gluteal muscle group consists of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and the gluteus minimus. All three muscles originate from the ilium (the uppermost bone of the pelvic girdle) and insert into the femur (thighbone). Because of its insertion point into the femur, they control three movements in distinct movement planes: hip extension (sagittal plane), hip abduction (frontal plane), and hip external rotation (transverse plane). As a result, the gluteals are an important stabiliser of the hip/pelvis with dynamic activity, assist with shock absorption and prevent dysfunctional movements patterns such as the medial collapse of the knee as shown below:
Medial collapse: hip internal rotation and hip adduction
Medial collapse of the knee is defined by hip internal rotation and hip adduction as shown above, movements that the gluteal muscles are trying to prevent. This movement pattern is bad because it places excessive stress on other muscle groups, soft tissue structures and joints below the hip. We often see this dysfunctional movement pattern in runners and athletes who have weak or underactive glutes. Going through multiple cycles of activity with this dysfunctional movement pattern will then lead to an overuse hip, knee, ankle injury or in the worst case scenario, an acute traumatic injury, due to inadequate shock absorption.
Think prevention and please ask our friendly team of therapists how to properly activate, fire, and engage those glutes! Call, email or book online to see one of our knowledge north Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors, athletic therapists, personal trainers and registered massage therapists.
Author: Clarence Lau, BSc (Hons), MPhtySt
Toronto Registered Physiotherapist | Acupuncture Provider