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Gluteus medius

The gluteus medius muscle is partially covered, on its lower-third part, by the gluteus maximus muscle. This makes up what is commonly referred to as the buttocks. The gluteus medius works to provide rotation of the thigh outward from the center of the body, which enables a steady walking gait. 

The gluteus medius attaches to the leg at the top of the femur (thigh bone), close to the hip joint, on a bony prominence called the greater trochanter. The greater trochanter is a ridge on the femur (thighbone). The muscle attaches at the other end to the ilium, which is part of the big pelvic bone.

Weakness in the muscle, nerve damage, or problems with the muscle (or structures where it is attached) can cause a limp to develop, such as the Trendelenburg gait. This is an abnormal walking form where a person’s hip drops on the side opposite the damage or weakness, giving their gait a hobbled appearance.

The greater trochanter of the femur, where the gluteus medius muscle attaches, has a bursa sac of fluid that normally protects the bony protrusion. It can become inflamed and cause pain in the hip area, causing a condition known as trochanteric bursitis. Treatment of inflammation in this area usually involves stretching, anti-inflammatory drugs, and cortisone injections.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Gluteus medius

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