Your dormant butt might be to blame for knee, hip or back pain


If you exercise regularly, chances are good that you’ve experienced an injury. And you’re not alone – millions of Americans suffer from knee, hip or back pain.

What might surprise you is the cause. Are you on the edge of your seat? Then you’re sitting on it.

Sports medicine experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center call it dormant butt syndrome.

When gluteal muscles are weak, the muscles and joints around them have to compensate and absorb excess strain.

“The entire body works as a linked system, and a lot of times when people come in with knee or hip injuries, it’s actually because their butt isn’t strong enough,” says Ohio State physical therapist Chris Kolba, PhD, PT. “The rear end should act as support for the entire body and as a shock absorber for stress during exercise. But if it’s too weak, other parts of the body take up the slack and often results in injury.”

Dr. Kolba says dormant butt syndrome can lead to everything from tight hip muscles to hamstring injuries to chronic lower back pain, even injuries to the cartilage in your knee that could require surgery.

But dormant butt syndrome isn’t suffered only by those who exercise improperly.

“It’s actually caused quite often by inactivity and the way we sleep,” says Dr. Kolba. “Sitting for periods throughout the day weakens the gluteal muscles and puts strain on other parts of our core, as does sleeping in the fetal position."

So what can you do about your inferior posterior?

Dr. Kolba says stretching, making a point to stand and walk as often as possible throughout the day and adding exercise to strengthen the gluteal muscles can help you avoid pain and injury in other parts of the middle to lower body.