Many of you will have heard of your backside being referred to as a gluteus maximus and it is in fact the “Gluteus Maximus” muscle which makes up the shape and outward appearance of the buttocks. This muscle takes much of the glory for the curves and strength of your bottom, however, there are some pretty important things going on underneath to keep you ‘running smoothly’.
The Gluteus Medius is one of the 3 muscles making up the gluteal group. Although often forgotten it is an extremely important muscle for several reasons.
The gluteus medius attaches from the pelvis to the hip and functions to lift the leg out to the side, away from the other leg, and also to rotate the hip outwards. These movements are all well and good, however, how often do we really need to lift our thigh out to the side of our body or walk sideways?
Another important and vital role for this muscle is in walking, running, hopping and any time you are standing on one leg. This occurs most often during the gait cycle (walking). When we stand, our weight is balanced over both feet. However, when we shift our weight onto only one leg, i.e. taking a step, our body weight is no longer balanced and instead is unsupported in thin air. This should cause our pelvis to fall to that free side. It is the role of the gluteus medius on the weight-bearing side of the body to prevent that hip from dropping and thus giving us a nice smooth walking or running pattern.
If the gluteus medius is not functioning correctly, this can lead to muscle imbalances and biomechanical changes, which are often identified when patients present with pain in the hip, knee, ankle or back. Many of the people who come to see me with lower limb or back pain have weakness in their gluteus medius and are completely unaware of it.
A simple test to see how your gluteus medius is functioning is to stand in front of a mirror on one foot, squat down a little and look at what happens to your hip on the free side. If it drops, you may have weakness in your gluteus medius.
If you think you may have weakness in these muscles, you are experiencing pain in your back or legs or even if you are a keen runner looking to improve your gait, make an appointment to see a Bend + Mend Physio for an assessment today.
Stay tuned for my next blog on some exercises you can try at home to help to strengthen your gluteus medius muscle…