What is Ischiogluteal Bursitis?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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Ischiogluteal bursitis refers to inflammation and tenderness in a small cushioning sac called a bursa in the pelvis. The ischiogluteal bursae lie between the hamstring tendons and pelvic bones in each hip. In most cases, bursitis results from repetitive strain placed on the buttocks from physical activity or from sitting down on a hard surface for extended periods of time. A person who has ischiogluteal bursitis may experience aches, stiffness, and tenderness in one or both buttocks. Symptoms can usually be relieved with ice, massage, medications, and a two- to four-week period of rest.

The hamstring tendons and muscles are highly involved in most physical activities. They help with bending, twisting, jumping, and running. The fluid-filled ischiogluteal bursae act as cushions for the hamstring muscles and the pelvic bones. In the case of ischiogluteal bursitis, one or both bursae are inflamed and painful.

The most common causes of ischiogluteal bursitis are, interestingly, very high and very low levels of activity. Runners and athletes who engage in fast, high-impact sports that involve jumps and twists are at risk of experiencing bursitis because of the constant friction and pressure placed on the hips. People who are mainly sedentary because of their work may also develop the condition. Sitting on a hard surface for several hours a day, several days a week puts a great deal of pressure on the ischiogluteal bursae.


Most cases of ischiogluteal bursitis come about gradually. The first symptoms may be dull aches in the buttocks when engaging in activity or sitting down. Over time, inflamed bursa can cause constant pains and tenderness. It can feel as if the legs are weaker than normal, and a person might not be able to comfortably bend over or walk. If the problem goes untreated and an individual tries to continue with regular activities, he or she is at risk of suffering a major, debilitating injury.

The primary treatment for ischiogluteal bursitis is rest. Doctors stress the importance of avoiding all activities that trigger painful symptoms for the first few weeks. Icing the buttock, keeping the affected leg elevated, massaging the muscle, and taking over-the-counter painkillers can provide faster symptom relief. Very painful or persistent cases of bursitis should be brought to the attention of a doctor. The physician may prescribe a high-strength painkiller or inject the bursa with a corticosteroid solution to provide temporary relief.

Once the leg starts feeling better, a person can begin simple stretching exercises and go on short walks to gradually rebuild strength. It is essential to return to activity slowly to make sure all symptoms have resolved. Future episodes of bursitis can be avoided by properly stretching and warming up before running and investing in a softer chair or cushion for work.



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