Spotlight On Gluteus Medius

Spotlight On Gluteus Medius

Gluteus Medius: A Valuable Pelvis And Lower Extremity Stabiliser

Like gluteus minimus (often referred to as simply glute min) gluteus medius (glute med) is located on the lateral aspect of the upper buttock area and is a broad fan shaped muscle narrowing towards its insertion. Along with glute min it is functionally an important muscle in helping maintain trunk stability in upright postures such as walking, running and other single leg weight-bearing movements.

Glute Med Anatomy

The origin of glute medius is from the lateral (outer) surface of the ilium, where it radiates out from here as the muscle fibers ultimately converge into a flattened tendon that inserts on the lateral surface of the greater trochanter of the femur. It is supplied by the superior gluteal nerve which arises from contributions from the L4- S1 nerve roots. As mentioned above, similar to glute min, glute med is of a fan shaped appearance and the actions of the muscle are to work to assist, or produce namely abduction and also rotation and extension movements of the hip.

The Function Role Of Gluteus Medius

The function of glute medius goes beyond its role as a hip abductor. Alongside glute min and TFL, glute med it is an extremely valuable pelvic and lower extremity stabiliser in dynamic activities and postures. Weakness in this trio of muscles (glute min, glute med and TFL) may cause an individual to present with what is call a Trendelenburg sign. A Trendelenburg sign is where the pelvis drops on the opposite side to the side of weakness when adopting single leg stance postures and weakness in these muscles can lead to the development of a Trendelenburg gait.  Trendelenburg gait results from a unilateral (one sided) weakness of glute med and is a form of trunk compensation where the pelvis tilts downwards instead of upwards on the non-weight bearing side and in an attempt to lessen this effect, the individual compensates by tilting the trunk away from the affected hip. This lateral tilt of the trunk works to place the persons center of gravity mostly on the stance limb which aims to causing a reduction of the pelvic drop. A Trendelenburg gait will generally only result from significant weakness in these gluteal muscles owing to paralysis/paresis of the hip abductors and conditions like a dislocation of the hip or slipped capital femoral epiphysis. This can pattern can also present due to the surgical dissection of the gluteus medius muscle necessary during hip surgery such as having hip replacement surgery.

Weakness And Musculoskeletal Conditions

Weakness in gluteus medius is frequently considered to be associated with several lower-limb musculoskeletal conditions. Considering that the role of the glute medius during activities such as running is to dynamically stabilize the pelvis working to help keeping the pelvis in a neutral position when load is placed on a single leg. It is fairly easy to see, that failure to maintain pelvis stability through glute medius weakness could be a trigger, or contributor for several pathologies, such as ITB syndromes, patellofemoral complaints, ACL injuries, as well as ankle injuries.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on Spotlight On Gluteus Medius should consult his or her personal trainer, physiotherapist, general practitioner or other appropriately skilled practitioner.