The phrase “dead butt” refers to a painful condition caused by inflammation in the tendons of the gluteus medius muscle, one of several major muscles composing the buttocks. This condition, known medically as gluteus medius tendinopathy, is also called “dead butt syndrome.”
What is the definition of dead butt syndrome? While the word implies seriousness, our bodies are naturally resilient; muscles rarely die until they are severely injured, such as when their blood supply is cut off. However, gluteus medius syndrome is uncomfortable, and the pain associated with this tendinopathy can draw your attention to your buttocks.
Although a person’s posterior may look relatively simple, our backsides are actually quite complex. Gluteus medius is a smaller, lesser-known muscle in the buttocks with an essential function. The gluteus medius muscle actively contracts during weight-bearing while we run or walk. The gluteal muscles (three) are just several muscles that compose the familiar anatomical structure we call the “butt,” originating from the ilium and inserting on the femur.
To best understand gluteus medius tendinopathy, we need to understand what happens with tendinopathies in general, how exercise or well-intentioned but poorly managed daily routines can contribute to our butts becoming “dead,” what to do about it!