What is Gluteus Medius Syndrome?

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Gluteus Minimus Muscle: Definition, Function & Location

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 Running Injury
  • 0:30 The Gluteus Medius
  • 1:20 Gluteus Medius Syndrome
  • 2:03 Causes and Symptoms
  • 2:34 Diagnosis and Treatment
  • 3:50 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Alexandra Unfried

Alexandra earned her master's degree in nursing education and is currently a hospital supervisor/administrator.

The gluteus medius is one of the four muscles that make up the outer gluteal region of the buttock. The gluteus medius is a muscle that is used repetitively throughout lower body movement and can get overused and injured. By the end of this lesson you will be able to explain what gluteus medius syndrome is.

Running Injury

Jeri is training for a half marathon. She has been incorporating hills in her route and running several miles a day, five times a week for a month. Gradually, she notices that there is pain in one hip when running up hills and when increasing speed. Also, at rest there is pain in the hip when rolling over onto the affected side. Her doctor suspects gluteus medius syndrome. Jeri wonders, what's the gluteus medius?

The Gluteus Medius

The gluteus medius is one of the muscles that make up the outer region of the buttock. The other muscles in the outer gluteal region include the gluteus maximus, the gluteus minimus, and the tensor fascia lata.

The main function of the gluteus medius is to contract isometrically. Isometric means that the movement of the muscle is fixed and works by strengthening and pushing muscles against each other. When the gluteus medius contracts, it provides support to the hip during weight bearing movement (example, walking and running).

There is a bony prominence at the side of the hip in the upper thigh known as the greater trochanter. Three structures come together at this point, including the trochanteric bursa, the gluteus medius muscle, and the iliotibial band. The gluteus medius is a key muscle surrounding the hip, which starts in the buttock and attaches at the greater trochanter. This structure allows the leg to be lifted to the side.

Gluteus Medius Syndrome

Gluteus medius syndrome is an injury that causes pain on the outer side of the hip and is often referred to as the rotator cuff of the hip. The gluteus medius is like the rotator cuff because the rotator cuff often causes pain in the shoulder due to overuse and tearing.

The wear and tear that happens to the gluteus medius is similar to injuries to the rotator cuff with overuse. As it wears out (tendinosis), pain occurs. The muscle attached to the trochanteric bursa in the hip becomes irritated secondarily to partial or complete tears of the gluteus medius. Gluteus medius syndrome is common in long distance running. This syndrome is also known as 'runner's butt,' 'dead butt syndrome,' or 'tight butt syndrome' because spasms that occur really cause an actual pain in the butt.

Causes and Symptoms

Gluteus medius syndrome is not caused by acute trauma, but instead it's caused by continual wear and tear on the lower body. As Jeri can attest to, symptoms include hip pain on the affected side and weakness when lifting the leg.

She also feels fatigued when walking or running, and has pain when rolling onto the affected side. Because this is caused by constant use, it's common in long distance runners. The syndrome usually affects only one side because the body is often asymmetric, and the body has to shift and make accommodations for that lack of symmetry.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account