Pain in the gluteus maximus muscle may be caused by muscle strain, a gluteal tear or a type of nerve pain called sciatica. The treatment is different depending on the cause and the severity of the gluteal injury.
A mild to moderate gluteus maximus strain can be treated like any other muscle strain injury. If pain and swelling occurs, ice can be used to reduce the swelling. Ice should be applied for 10 to 15 minutes to the affected area every few hours. You can also take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help with the pain and inflammation; however, if this is not enough to control your pain, you should see your doctor rather than increasing your dosage beyond the recommended level. Resting the injured muscle is also necessary. It is not really possible to elevate the area like you would for an injured limb, but it may help not to lie or sit for long periods of time directly on the injured muscle. If you have a gluteus maximus strain, it may be especially difficult to walk up stairs or uphill.
If you have a severe gluteus maximus strain or a more complete muscle tear, you should see a doctor for assessment. If your pain is so severe that you are unable to use the muscle at all and can’t walk, you may have a large gluteal tear. Besides the standard clinical examination at the doctor’s office or emergency room, imaging of the injury may show the extent of the damage. Your doctor may prescribe pain medications or suggest that you take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Surgery is not a common treatment for a gluteal injury, but it can be necessary for large muscle injuries that would not heal on their own. Your doctor will be able to give you recommendations for at-home treatment as well as make recommendations for how long it will be before you can resume athletic activity. For severe injuries, physical therapy may be suggested for rehabilitation of the injured gluteus maximus muscle.
Sciatica is a type of nerve pain that can cause pain in the buttocks area and down the leg. If you have been diagnosed with sciatic nerve pain, your doctor may recommend medications, such as NSAIDs, medications for nerve pain or corticosteroid injections, and lifestyle changes such as using heat or ice to reduce inflammation and avoiding sitting down for long periods of time.