Jock Doc

Runner has developed a pain in the buttock

Q: I am a runner who has developed pain in my right buttock for the last month. The muscle tends to loosen up when I run but after I stop, the pain and stiffness return. My buttock area bothers me a lot when I sit. Resting had helped a little but when I returned to running, the discomfort and stiffness came back. What do you think the problem is and is it safe to keep running? Any ideas how can I get better?

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Dr. Harlan Selesnick

A: There are three hamstring muscles that originate deep in the buttock from the pelvis (ischium) that form a tendon. Overuse can result in a tendonitis that produces pain and stiffness.

There is also a sac deep to the ischium known as a bursa that can become inflamed. The initial treatment is usually an anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy aimed at decreasing pain and improving flexibility.

Also sitting on padded surfaces can decrease pain. It is usually safe to keep running while rehabbing and getting better. However, I recommend you see an orthopedic surgeon to confirm the diagnosis, see if it’s safe to keep running, and design a therapy program to resolve your symptoms as quickly as possible.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to