You know the one I'm talking about. That pain in the butt that you try to stretch, but it's still there. You roll around on the lacrosse ball, still there. You try to put your finger on it but can't quite get to it. Sometimes it's in your butt, but then it feels like the front of your hip. It can be sharp, or it can be dull and nagging and drives you crazy.
The trouble with treating the glute or the piriformis, is sometimes it's a different muscle. It could be a muscle called the obturator internus. It's a trouble-maker because it's a hip muscle, but it originates inside the pelvis. As in, it moves the hip (external rotator) and stabilizes the hip but is connected to the pelvic floor muscles.
The reason it can be so confusing to treat is we mistake it for its partner in crime, the piriformis. That one we can roll and stretch, and if we treat the underlying issue, can have good result with. A difference is that the obturator internus may lead to increased urgency, or feeling like you need to "go" too frequently, or refer pain down the leg. Often it's a source of issues in runners, because of its role in stabilizing the hip in the socket.
If you have stubborn glute pain that you can't figure out, send me a message and see if working together could solve the puzzle!
Jill Heath is a licensed physical therapist and owner of She PT, LLC. She received a Doctorate of Physical Therapy and B.S. in Exercise Science from Northern Arizona University. During years of practice helping individuals of all ages recover from a variety of conditions, she developed a passion for working with women. She opened She PT, LLC with the purpose of meeting not only the unique physical needs of women, but also empowering women to take charge of their well-being by making care accessible.