Anatomy Chart courtesy of FCIT
So What is the Gluteus Medius Anyway???
Gluteus Medius syndrome is characterized by pain in the buttocks, lateral hip,groin or the sacro iliac joint. Often times prolonged sitting can increase pain.The pain is caused by overuse and inflammation of the gluteus medius or the sciatic nerve which is right next to the muscle. Usually symptoms are elicited only during sports participation, but gradually can become part of the athletes routine. When the athletes buttocks is palpated, he experiences deep pain and soreness,it may be localized or radiated to an adjacent location in the groin area.
Athlete may also demonstrate limited range of motion in the hip area. Stretching the muscles of the hip and buttocks area is highly recommended as a first line of conservative care. along with ice. In my private practice I also include cold laser therapy, specific chiropractic adjustments, excercises to strengthen the gluteus medius and pelvic stabilizing exercises.
Who Needs a Strong Gluteus Medius?
If your youth athlete tends to experience sore or tight hips in early season as they are getting accustomed to the additional training and participation in track meets then you may want to incorporate several of the following targeted exercises for a few weeks to help strengthen the gluteus medius and balance out the larger hip and thigh muscles. The following exercises are simple and quick to do daily.
The gluteals are very important stabilizing muscles, especially when walking or running. When one foot is in contact with the ground the abductors(muscles that bring the leg and hip outward) are working ‘quasi-isometrically’ to control the pelvis, preventing it from dropping down on the swing leg side. The hip abductor muscles need good strength endurance to be able to perform this movement consistently well.
Start the exercises below with 2 sets of 10 reps each side. Perform the exercises slowly, lowering for one count and raising for one count. Progress to 3 sets of 15-25 reps each side. Once the athlete is at this level he will develop good strength endurance in the hip abductors specific to their stabilizing task during running. To progress the exercise further, add ankle weights to the free leg side.