Gluteus Medius and Minimus
Updated: Jun 15, 2022
The gluteus medius is the main abductor of the hip. The job of the gluteus medius is to stabilize the hip, pelvis, and lumbar spine. This muscle is activated during single weight bearing movements (i.e. yoga, weight lifting, kickboxing).
The gluteus medius lies deep to your gluteus maximus and superficial the the gluteus minimus. See picture below for reference.
The gluteus minimus is also an abductor muscle of the hip. The job of the gluteus minimus is to internally and externally rotate the femur bone and stabilize the hips. The gluteus minimus can contribute to pain patterns beginning in the pelvis and traveling down the lateral aspect of the thigh and leg. Janet Travel, MD has coined it as the "pseudo sciatica" muscle.
Gluteus medius and minimus can be involved when there is:
Pain in the low back and hip
Ilio-tibial band syndrome ( i.e. runner's knee)
Lumbo-sacral disorders (i.e. degenerative disc, bulging disc)
If the pelvis is not stable, this can throw off the lower extremity leading to patello-femoral dysfunction, shin splints, achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis.
Stabilizing the pelvis by targeting the glute medius/minimus will be the objective in treatment
This can be done with mechanical stimulation of these muscles with acupuncture needles and electrical stimulation.
The gluteus medius can become inhibited /weak due to sitting for too many hours. This muscle is a phasic muscle. Phasic muscles are available on demand. They are genetically younger and can atrophy quicker than a postural muscle. The proper treatment for this muscle will be activation.
Exercises to help activate the gluteus medius and minimus (see video and pictures for these exercises):
Clam shells (10 reps each side with or without resistance band, for 2 rounds each side)
Abduction lifts (6 reps each side with or without an ankle weight, for 2 round each side)
Large clockwise circles and counter clockwise circles (5 circles each side with or without ankle weight building up to 12 reps, 1 round each side)
Small clockwise circles and counter clockwise circles ( 5 circles clockwise, followed by 5 circles counter clockwise, with or without ankle weight, 1 round each side)
Toe taps (10 total reps with out without ankle weight, 1 round total)