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4 Common Lower Butt or Hip Syndromes from Sitting

Chronic pain around the hip or lower butt is often described as a dull irritating ache, burn, or tingling sensation that can vary in intensity and seems to be impacted by sitting. For some, it hurts while they are sitting, and for others, it’s painful when they get up from sitting too long. In most cases, It comes on gradually with no specific injury and is challenging to manage on your own.

Many of us sit for several hours a day. In fact, a 2019 publication from the Washington Post cited a study by the Journal of American Medical Association that the average American adult sits for 6.5 hours/day. Even more staggering, the average American teen sits for 8 hours daily.

Multiple research articles demonstrate the harmful effects of prolonged sitting on various body regions, including the neck, lower back, and hips. Since our lifestyles are trending towards even more significant amounts of sitting, we must understand how this impacts these body regions. This information is vital for prevention and treatment to ensure a comfortable lifestyle as we age and live longer lives.

Once lower back and specific hip joint pathology are ruled out, four primary syndromes cause pain in the lower butt and hip. Each condition has a typical pain pattern and various characteristics.

Deep Gluteal Syndrome

Pain: Ache in the lower inner buttock with some burning or tingling in the hip or back of the thigh


  • Usually just on one side

  • Can’t sit longer than 20-30 minutes

  • Limps when walking

  • Some possible loss of sensation

  • Pain can be worse at night and better during the day

  • Often has a history of lower back pain

Hamstring Syndrome

Pain: Deep ache or burn in the lower outer buttock (lateral to the butt bone) and refers to the back of the thigh


  • Pain often begins gradually and worsens over time

  • Pain is worse when sitting on a hard surface

  • Felt during and after physical activity

  • Worsened by stretching

  • Pain occurs just before you put your heel down when walking or running

  • History of hamstring injury increases the risk

Piriformis Syndrome

Pain: Deep ache in mid-buttock that can be felt down to the back of the knee

Characteristics: Worse with sitting, especially on soft chairs and when leaning back

Ischiofemoral Impingement Syndrome

Pain: Deep pain at or below the butt bone and towards the hip


  • Pain occurs when walking with longer strides; Short strides often alleviate the pain

  • Painful with sitting, stretching, and during exercise that causes compression and traction

Learning which syndrome you may be suffering from can be very helpful in narrowing down a treatment plan and recovery strategy. These syndromes are exactly what orthopedic specialists and physical therapists are sorting through when determining your source of pain and diagnosis.

The correct diagnosis is just the starting point. Once this distinction has been made, your physical therapist can more easily and successfully guide you through the appropriate treatment plan.



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