Gluteus Medius Muscle


Gluteus Medius - the middle gluteal muscle

Muscle Group: Gluteus Medius is one of the gluteal muscle

Action: Hip abduction, internal rotation (anterior fibres), external rotation (posterior fibres)

Origin: Lateral surface of the ilium from the iliac crest to the sciatic notch

Insertion: Superolateral side of the greater trochanter of the femur

Nerve Supply: Superior gluteal nerve (L4, L5, S1)

Functional Activities: Standing on one leg, walking, running

AKA: Glute Med

Gluteus Medius In-Depth

Gluteus medius is a broad, thick, radiating muscle found on the upper, lateral part of the buttock, just below the iliac crest – if you place your hands on your hips, that’s the large bony area that your fingers rest on. It is a fan-shaped muscle, wide at the top, narrow at the bottom and is found underneath the gluteus maximus muscle.

Gluteal Muscles: Gluteus Maximus and Gluteus Medius

It arises from the gluteal surface of the ileum (part of the pelvis) between the anterior and posterior gluteal lines, an extensive area from the iliac crest above almost as far as the sciatic notch below, attaching via a strong layer of fascia of which it shares the posterior part with gluteus maximus. Three sets of fibres spread out, the anterior fibres passing downwards and backwards, the middle fibres passing straight downwards and the posterior fibres downwards and forwards before coming together to form a flattened tendon which attaches to the superolateral side of the greater trochanter on the femur. 

Gluteus medius is a strong hip abductor, taking the thigh outwards away from the body. The anterior fibres contract to produce internal rotation (twisting the leg inwards) whereas the posterior fibres aid lateral rotation (twisting outwards).

Gluteus medius plays a vital role in the stability of the pelvis during walking and running. When walking, approximately 60% of the time we are standing on one leg, known as the stance phase of the gait cycle. When standing on one leg, there is a tendency for the opposite side of the pelvis to drop due to the loss of support. Glute med works hard on the supporting side to maintain a level pelvis so that the leg can be brought forwards for the next step. Weakness in the muscle results in the pelvis dropping on the opposite side as you walk or run. It also helps to control hip and pelvic rotation during walking and running. 

If gluteus medius is weak or isn’t functioning properly, people walk with what is called a Trendelenburg gait, where the opposite side of the pelvis drops with each step due to the last of support. Weakness in the left glute med muscle causes the right side of the pelvis to drop when swinging the right leg forwards when walking. This can make walking awkward and people tend to compensate by swinging their trunk towards the weakened side to keep their pelvis level and their centre of gravity over the standing leg so they can swing their leg through. Running is almost impossible.

What Next?

Here are some other articles that may be of interest:

1) Glutes Strengthening Exercises: Great exercises to target glute med to get back strength and stability

2) Glute Stretches: Alleviate tightness in the glutes with these simple yet effective stretches

3) Leg Muscles: Find out how the rest of the leg and knee muscles work together

4) Diagnose Your Pain: Suffering from knee pain - use this guide to help you work out what is wrong and what you can do about it

Go to Anatomy Guide or Homepage

Muscles of the Lower Limb

Rectus Femoris
Vastus Lateralis
Vastus Medialis
Vastus Intermedius

Biceps Femoris

Gluteus Maximus
Gluteus Medius

Your Comments

Share your knee pain experiences with others, whether it be ideas, top tips, things that worked well for you, problems you've had etc.......
Check out our book - Knee Arthritis: Take Back Control. Available in paperback or on Kindle

All the info you need, in our new book
Find out more

Read Reviews/ Buy Now


See Also

Knee Strengthening Exercises

Knee Stretches

Diagnose Your Pain

Knee Anatomy

Search This Site

Visitor Comments

“This is one of the best self-help & info sites of any medical condition I've ever seen. Excellent work.” Amy, UK

"Your site and exercises have been a lifesaver! The explanations are so clear.  Thanks for your help and excellent work."  Claire, US

"I'm an RN. This is really useful, easy to understand info."
Jan, US

“Thanks to Lots of improvement after just two days.” Suresh, India

"This is the best self-help site I have ever seen for knee pain. It is very difficult to find such a comprehensive volume of information on one site without being advised to "Just purchase this product!" Many, many thanks" Jennifer, US

"Superb site, many thanks, so much helpful content especially the targeted strengthening exercises for me.” Gerri, UK

“Thank you so much, your response makes so much sense. Thank you again for your time in answering my questions.” Cynthia, US

"Your website is a gold mine, thank you very much."
Gavril, Denmark

"Thank you for this website and all the information, especially the videos. I suffer from knee stiffness and pain when standing and now I have some exercises I can do - thanks to you." Claire, US

"I LOVE your website. Out of all the others, yours is so informational and easy to read." Michelle, US

"This is the best site dealing with knee problems that I have come across. I will be putting the stretches and exercises into practise. Thank you!"
Margaret, S. Africa

"The information given by you is fabulous. Thank you." Nihal, India

"Your site is excellent! It covers everything you need to know about knee pain and it's treatment in an easy to understand format. Thanks!" Linda, US

"Brilliant website - highly recommended! And as nurse (25yrs exp) its written expertly and is very explanatory and easy to understand. Thank you!" Jo, UK