If You Have Knee, Hip Or Back Pain, Your Butt May Be To Blame

Experts say “Dormant Butt Syndrome” affects millions, caused by weak glute muscles

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(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – If you’re one of the millions of Americans who suffers from hip, knee or back pain, experts say your butt may be to blame.

“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 is not strong enough,” said Chris Kolba, a physical therapist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “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 it often causes injury.”

Kolba has coined the term “Dormant Butt Syndrome” related to such injuries, which can lead to everything from tight hip flexors to chronic pain in the lower back and even injuries to the meniscus, which often result in knee surgery. But it’s not just caused by those who exercise improperly.

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

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


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Physical therapist Chris Kolba works on glute exercises with Jennifer Ernst at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Kolba coined the term Dormant Butt Syndrome, referring to weakness of the glute muscles that can cause pain and injuries to the knees, hips and lower back.

After knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, experts diagnosed Jennifer Ernst with Dormant Butt Syndrome, a condition in which weak glute muscles contribute to injuries in other parts of the body.

Jennifer Ernst stretches her hip flexors before exercising. Though she runs consistently, experts diagnosed her with Dormant Butt Syndrome, a condition in which weak glute muscles put strain on her knees, which damaged her meniscus.

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