Do You Have Dormant Butt Syndrome?

By Pat Anson, Editor

It’s probably not a condition or therapy they’ll be teaching in medical schools anytime soon.

But if Chris Kolba has his way, millions of Americans will get off their rear ends and start exercising their gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.

Those are the three muscles that make up the buttocks and sitting on them all day long can lead to back pain, hip pain and knee injuries -- what Kolba calls “dormant butt syndrome.”

“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 isn’t strong enough,” says Kolba, who is a physical therapist at Ohio State 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 often results in injury.”   

Dormant butt syndrome (DBS) refers to the tightness of the hip flexors and weakness of the gluteal muscles.

When gluteal muscles are weak, muscles and joints in the hip, legs and knees  absorb more strain during exercise, sometimes leading to injuries so severe they need surgery.

But it’s not just weekend athletes who should worry about DBS. Even people who live sedentary lives due to illness or inclination can suffer from it.

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

Kolba says making an effort to stand and walk around as much as possible can help strengthen the gluteal muscles and avoid pain and injury in other parts of the body.

In this video news release, Kolba offers tips to a marathon runner who suffered a severe knee injury he blames on DBS: