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Gluteus Medius Tear

The gluteus medius muscle, located on the outside of the hip, serves as a major stabilizer and abductor of the hip.  A small portion of these tears are incurred through traumatic injury to the hip, but the majority of gluteus medius tears are actually the result of an accumulation of small tears over time.  These small tears occur from repetitive movements and overuse, and trigger chronic inflammation in the area.

Gluteus Medius muscle is highlighted on the outside of the hip.

The gluteus medius is used to move the hip in an outward direction (abduction)

While aging itself can increase the risk of developing a gluteus medius tear, the greatest risk occurs in active athletic participants due to repetitive and more forceful movements.  Symptoms include both slow and sudden pain, discomfort when lying on the affected side, tenderness in the hip area, and limping.  These symptoms tend to get worse the longer one sits, stands, or walks.  Diagnosis is usually made through physical exam and MRI imaging.

The majority of patients achieve improvement by treating the painful area with ice, use of anti-inflammatory medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen, and refraning from activities that worsen the symptoms.  However, if these non-operative measures fail, reattaching the torn tendon with arthroscopic surgery may be necessary in order to return the patient to an active lifestyle.

Following surgery, physical therapy and a home exercise program is prescribed to slowly introduce hip motions and bring back the strength in the gluteus medius muscle.  The length of rehabilitation time is determined by the severity of the tear.

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