What is Gluteus Minimus and What is its Function?
The Gluteus Minimus Muscle along with the Gluteus Medius muscle forms a part of the hip joint. The Gluteus Minimus Muscle is located a little bit in front of the Gluteus Medius and the function of this muscle is to promote extension of the hips. The Gluteus Minimus Muscle is quite a broad muscle and is triangular in shape. The Gluteus Minimus Muscle and the Gluteus Medius Muscle are separated from each other by nerve and blood vessels. The Gluteus Minimus Muscle originates from the external surface of the ilium, which forms a part of the pelvic bone. It then enters the greater trochanter near the hip joint. The Gluteus Minimus Muscle along with the Gluteus Medius Muscle and the tensor fascia lata form the rotators of the hip joint. The main function of the Gluteus Minimus Muscle is to promote hip abduction and rotation of the thigh. It also helps in stabilizing the pelvis when the opposite leg is raised above the ground. Gluteus Minimus Muscle can get injured or strained if a person has an occupation, which requires a lot of standing and the person does not have a good standing posture thus putting extra pressure on the hip joints. Other activities that put pressure on these muscles can also strain the Gluteus Minimus Muscle such as sitting with the legs crossed for a long period of time, lifting and carrying heavy items repetitively, repeated jumping on the lower extremities, thus putting excessive pressure on the lower extremities resulting in a strain or injury to the Gluteus Medius Muscle.
Signs and Symptoms of Gluteus Minimus Strain or Injury
Some of the symptoms which may point towards a Strained Gluteus Minimus are:
- Severe pain in the buttocks can be a symptom of Gluteus Minimus Strain.
- Experience of pain on the outer part of the hip.
- Pain on the outer part of the thigh can also be a symptoms of Gluteus Minimus Strain.
- Pain behind the calf radiating to the ankle.
- The individual suffering from Gluteus Minimus Strain may also experience symptoms of numbness in buttocks, hip and thigh down to the ankle.
- The affected individual will have difficulty ambulating normally and will have difficulty rising from a seated position.
- The affected individual may also feel pain when he lies down on the side which is supposed to be strained or affected.
What Can Cause Gluteus Minimus Strain?
Some of the activities which can result in Gluteus Minimus Strain are:
- Sitting with the legs crossed for prolonged period of time.
- People who keep their wallets at their back pocket and sit for long periods of time may cause strain or injury to the Gluteus Minimus.
- People who walk and carry heavy articles can also put their Gluteus Minimus at risk of it being injured or strained.
- Inadequate standing posture with the weight of the body not equally distributed in between the legs can also cause injury or Gluteus Minimus Strain.
Risk Factors of Gluteus Minimus Strain
Some of the medical conditions, which can contribute to Gluteus Minimus Strain are:
- Trochanteric bursitis.
- Intervertebral stenosis.
- Hip dislocation.
- Piriformis syndrome.
- Sacroiliac joint displacement.
- Ankylosing Spondylitis.
- Cauda equina syndrome.
What is the Treatment for Gluteus Minimus Strain?
Some of the treatments for Gluteus Minimus Strain are:
Anti-inflammatory Agents: First and foremost focus in the treatment for Gluteus Minimus Strain is on relieving pain and inflammation along with swelling and tenderness in the affected region. For this, the patient can use NSAIDs which go a long way in reducing pain and inflammation associated with Gluteus Minimus Strain. There are also quite a few gels and coolants available in the market these days, which when applied to the affected area help in calming down the muscle inflammation and thus help with strain of the Gluteus Minimus. Also, the patient suffering from Gluteus Minimus Strain can apply cold packs to the affected region for 15 to 20 minutes two to three times a day to reduce pain and swelling.
Heat Therapy for Gluteus Minimus Strain: Heat is also a form of treatment for a strained Gluteus Minimus. The patient can apply warm compresses to the affected region for 15 to 20 minutes for relief of the symptoms. It should be noted here that ice packs and warm compresses should not be done simultaneously as it can affect the resolution of the symptoms.
Hip Supports/Wrap: These forms of support are quite beneficial when used for a Strained Gluteus Minimus. The wrap or support is designed in such a way that it fits perfectly well and are quite comfortable to wear. These supports or wraps are quite beneficial in controlling the inflammation and reducing swelling and thus facilitate healing of Gluteus Minimus Strain.
Exercises: Once the symptoms of pain and inflammation has calmed down and the patient no longer has pain then there are certain exercises, which can be of help to expedite healing of a strained Gluteus Minimus. These exercises are:
Outer Hip Stretches: Stretching of the outer part of the hip stretches the gluteus minimus muscle and is quite beneficial for Gluteus Minimus Strains. To do this exercise, you need to lie supine with one leg straight and the other leg bent at the knee. Now, try and touch the inside part of the knee of the foot which is bent and try and twist the hips at the same time keeping the other leg straight. Now, pull the knee as much as possible and maintain the position for about half-a-minute. Now repeat the same maneuver on the other side.
Gluteal Muscle Stretching: This exercise is specifically targeted for the gluteus minimus muscles. To do this exercise, you need to lie prone with one leg bent below the abdomen and the other leg kept straight as shown in the picture. Now, bend forward at the waist maintain the position for about half-a-minute. Now, repeat this maneuver for the other leg.
Sitting Gluteus Minimus Stretches: This muscle also targets specifically the gluteus minimus muscle and is quite helpful for a Strained Gluteus Minimus Muscle. To do this exercise, sit with one leg straight and the bottom of the other foot against the inner part of the thigh. Now bend forward keeping the spine as straight as possible as shown in the picture. Maintain this position for about half-a-minute and then repeat the maneuver for the other side.
Recovery Period Gluteus Minimus Strain
Normally, it takes about three to four weeks for the symptoms caused due to Gluteus Minimus Strain to resolve. The heat and cold therapy along with NSAID use may continue for about two to three weeks. During this time, it is advised that the patient do not put any stress to the hip and pelvic region such as standing for too long or walking long distances. The more the person rests the faster the healing of Gluteus Minimus Strain will be. Once the symptoms are resolved, then the patient may gradually return to normal activities over a period of week to 10 days after recuperating from Gluteus Minimus Strain.