The gluteus medius is a muscle on the outside of the hip, which is important for abduction (lateral movement away from the body). These muscles help one stand up right and walk without a limp.
Gluteus medius tears, also known as the rotator cuff tear of the hip, involve tearing of the gluteus medius muscle from its attachment to the greater trochanter, commonly known as the “lateral hip bone”. Gluteus medius tears may cause persistent pain mimicing trochanteric bursitis. They may also cause weakness and limping.
When physical therapy and injections in the trochanteric bursa do not provide lasting relief, the diagnosis of gluteus medius tear should be suspected. In many cases, a torn gluteus medius can be repaired arthroscopically by sewing the torn part of the gluteus medius tendon back to the bone using tiny suture-anchors. This procedure has a high success rate in treating pain, and may restore strength to the gluteus medius muscle.
If the tear is too large, an open gluteus medius repair may be undertaken. Similar anchors are used to stabilize the repair or the tendon to the bone. In rare cases where the gluteus medius is atrophied, the gluteus maximus may be transfered restoring strength and function to the hip abductors.
Postoperative recovery for a gluteus medius repair involves 6 weeks of restricted weight bearing with crutches or an assisted device and 6 weeks in a hip brace. This protects the repair during the early healing phases.
Publications from the American Hip Institute on Gluteus Medius Tears
- Partial Thickness Tears of the Gluteus Medius Rationale and Technique for Transtendinous Endoscopic Repair 2010
- Partial Thickness Tears of the Guteus Mdius Rationale and Technique 2010