The Gluteus Medius is a small, but awfully important muscle in the hip. It is one of the 3 “Gluteal” muscles. You have probably heard the phrase “Use your Glutes” at some point in your life. Although that phrase doesn’t specifically refer to the Gluteus Medius, it is a good muscle to exercise for a healthy lumbopelvic balance. Often, this muscle is forgotten to strengthen and that can lead to some painful consequences.
The Gluteus Medius muscle originates on the outer surface of the ilium (pelvic crest) and inserts on the Greater Trochanter of the femur (hip bone). It is a broad, thick muscle that partly lies underneath the Gluteus Maximus. The function of the Glute Medius is to primarily abduct the hip (kick leg out). However, portions of the muscle help move the hip in other ways. The front (anterior) portion helps in hip flexion and medial rotation (internal); the back (posterior) portion helps in hip extension and lateral rotation (external). The reason the Glute Med. is so important is that it stabilizes the pelvis in the frontal plane (keeps us vertical). We need this muscle for walking, running and any single leg weight bearing, so standing on one foot.
What is the injury and how does it happen?
If the Glute Medius muscle is inhibited and weak, there are different problems that can happen. Other muscles will begin to compensate and do the work for it, which leads to imbalance and often pain.
Lower extremity issues will form like:
- Trendelenburg gait
- Illio-tibial band (ITB) syndrome
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS)
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and other knee injuries
- Ankle injuries
Symptoms will vary depending on the injury. Pain in the leg, hip and low back are common. If you have hip pain that won’t go away, book an assessment with one of our Physiotherapists!
Prevention begins by strengthening the weak muscle. A few low impact exercises to to start with are:
- Clam Shells
- Side Leg Lift
- Reverse Clam Shells
- Glute Bridges (with theraband)
Once the muscles are getting stronger, try this. Matt explains how and why Monster Walks are A MUST ADD to your exercise routine.