When you walk, run or jump, the gluteus medius muscle is crucial in keeping you stable. When there are problems with this muscle you may develop what is known as a trendelenburg gait or limp.
Whilst standing on one leg, your gluteus medius should contract and prevent the hip on the other side of your body from dropping. However, when there are problems with your gluteus medius, your body may compensate by changing your movement pattern and this will put strain on other parts of the body such as your back, hip, knee and ankle. The gluteus medius muscle also plays a role in tilting the pelvis sideways, taking the leg out to the side and also stabilising the head of the thighbone.
Test your gluteus medius now by standing in front of a mirror on one leg and see if the hip on the other side of your body drops. Although this is not necessarily evidence that you have problems with your gluteus medius, it may indicate instability in this area.
Faulty movement patterns, knees that collapse inwards, lower back issues and poor posture can all contribute to gluteus medius problems. However, under the supervision of your physiotherapist, the following exercises can help strengthen your gluteus medius:
On your side with your legs on top of one other, bend your knees 90 degrees. Keeping your feet together gently lift up your top knee.
On your side with your legs on top of each other, lift your top leg without bending your knees.
Stand on one leg, and lift your opposite leg as if stepping onto a step. Contract the muscles within the standing leg. Check your pelvis is not dropping by doing this exercise in front of a mirror.
Walk sideways like a crab with a TheraBand around your hips to add resistance.
Standing on one leg, push into your heel and squat down. Make sure you are not dropping your pelvis and that your knee or ankle is not collapsing inwards.
It may be that your gluteus medius is strained and if so it may contract and become painful. If this happens, the muscle may need releasing. A foam roller over the area can really help to release any tension.
Are you experiencing problems or pain in your hip? Do you suspect it may be caused by problems in your gluetus medius? Our specialist physios are able to see you at home or work and we are often able to arrange the first appointment within 24 hours. For more information and contact details please visit our local Physio Comes To You page.