What Is Causing My Buttock Pain?

Summit Orthopedics physical medicine and rehabilitation physician Daniel Probst, M.D., discusses the possible causes of buttock pain.

During his residency training in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), Summit physician Daniel Probst, M.D., received extensive training in treating hip and buttock pain. Buttock pain can make the simplest activities — from going up and down stairs to lying down to sleep at night — painful.

Pain that is mostly in the buttock or on the lateral hip can be challenging to diagnose and treat because there are so many structures in that area,” Dr. Probst said. “This means that there are many potential causes.”

What causes buttock pain?

There are several potential causes of buttock or hip pain:

  • A problem with the sacroiliac (SI) joint, such as arthritis. “An SI joint disorder is a common cause of buttock and hip pain,” Dr. Probst said.
  • Hip bursitis — also called greater trochanteric pain syndrome — is another potential cause. The culprit can be the trochanteric bursa itself, or an issue with the muscles or tendons that attach at that point.
  • Muscle pain. “People can develop trigger points in these muscles, causing myofascial pain,” Dr. Probst said.
  • A variety of hip issues. Hip arthritis can cause pain that radiates to the buttocks. Also a hip labral tear — a tear in the soft tissue that covers the hip socket.
  • A variety of spine issues. A problem with a spinal nerve can cause pain that radiates down into the buttocks or legs. Sciatica is famous for causing this type of radiating pain, but there are a host of other possible diagnoses as well.
  • Piriformis syndrome. The piriformis is a small muscle in the buttocks. Although uncommon, it can irritate the sciatic nerve, causing buttock pain, tingling, and numbness.

How to treat buttock pain

There are a lot of options for treatment of buttock pain — without surgery.

  • Customized physical therapy. “The mainstay of treatment for a lot of these conditions is a program of physical therapy with a tailored plan for the specific issue causing the pain,” Dr. Probst said.
  • There are a variety of injection techniques that can bring relief for buttock pain. They include trigger point injections, steroid injections, and platelet-rich plasma injections.
  • Manual therapy. If the symptoms are caused by a problem with the muscles, manual therapy can be very helpful in reducing the pain.

Overall, Dr. Probst said, talk with a sports medicine specialist about buttock pain if you’re concerned. If the symptoms include numbness or weakness, or if there are issues with bowel or bladder control, getting it checked out promptly is even more important. In short, according to Dr. Probst, “If the pain is impairing your life to the point that you can’t do what you want to do, it’s time to see your doctor.”

Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive sports medicine expertise

From Olympians to pro athletes to kids in youth sports and those that just want to be more active—Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.

 Start your journey to stronger, healthier athletic condition. Find your sports medicine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a sports medicine consultation.

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  • Daniel T. Probst, M.D., C.A.Q.

    “As a sports medicine physician and active Minnesotan, I understand the importance of functioning at your highest level. I take a conservative approach to the treatment of orthopedic injuries focusing on personally tailored physical therapy, ultrasound diagnosis, and, if needed, injections. From competitive athletes and weekend warriors to those simply looking to lead a more active lifestyle, I work with my patients to help them achieve their goals.”

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