What is a gluteus medius tear?

The gluteus medius is a muscle in the hip area crucial for regulating and stabilising the hip joint. The gluteus medius, together with the gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus, are three of the muscles that make up the buttock region. Controlling pelvic alignment and preserving balance while standing and walking are the primary duties of the muscle. Along with helping in internal and external hip rotation, the gluteus medius plays a role in hip abduction. A gluteus medius tear is characterised by a significant amount of strain on the muscle, which may cause partial or complete rupture. The greater trochanter, where the gluteus medius tendon inserts, is the site of most tears, resulting in pain outside the hip.

What causes gluteus medius tears?

Gluteus medius tears can occur due to a variety of reasons which include the following:

  • Abnormal mechanics – The gluteus medius can sustain damage or tear due to improper hip position or misuse.
  • Arthritis – Hip joint inflammation and degeneration can cause tears in the gluteus medius and other nearby muscles.
  • Degenerative changes – The muscles and tendons of the hip may weaken and become more prone to injury as we age. Tendinopathy, a degenerative disorder that causes persistent inflammation of the gluteus medius tendon, can cause a tear in this muscle.
  • Overuse – Running, jumping, or stair climbing are high-impact exercises that can repeatedly strain a muscle and, ultimately, lead to an injury. It can happen due to the lack of flexibility of a muscle and abrupt bursts of activity.
  • Trauma – A direct impact or a quick twisting motion can tear the gluteus medius muscle, causing an injury.

How do I know I have torn my gluteus medius?

Depending on how severe the damage is, the symptoms of a torn gluteus medius include the following:

  • Hip dysfunction
  • Inability to bear weight
  • Instability
  • Limited range of motion
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Weakness

How does Dr van Niekerk check for a gluteus medius tear?

An ultrasound or MRI is carried out to identify pathological changes in the gluteus medius. A single-leg squat test can also be done to check for a torn gluteus medius. However, it is crucial to see Dr van Niekerk for an accurate diagnosis to avoid further damage to the muscle.

How do you treat gluteus medius tears?

Physical therapy, which frequently serves as the initial line of treatment, is a single attempt to help the damaged muscle regain strength and flexibility. The initial therapies for gluteus medius tears include ice, bracing, rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and activity adjustments are also recommended. Surgery can be required in some circumstances to fix the torn muscle or treat any underlying issues that might have caused the injury.

A gluteus medius tear may be surgically repaired in several ways, such as:

  • Arthroscopic repair – An arthroscopic repair involves Dr van Niekerk fixing the tear inside the joint using tiny incisions and specialised tools. This surgery is frequently utilised for minor tears since it is less invasive than open repair.
  • Open repair – A surgeon performing an open repair makes an incision over the injured muscle and fixes the tear. Larger tears that cannot be healed arthroscopically usually require this procedure.
  • Tendon transfer – The damaged muscle might not be repairable in some circumstances. A tendon transfer operation may be carried out in these circumstances. In order for the muscle to regain its functionality, a healthy tendon is moved from an unaffected portion of the body to the injured one.

What is recovery like from gluteus medius tear surgery?

Although some patients might need to stay an extra night for monitoring, they can frequently return home the same day after their operation. More extended hospital stays may be necessary for more complicated surgeries. Recovery usually entails immobilisation and rest, physical therapy, a slow activity return, tracking improvement, and painkillers. With the help of Dr van Niekerk and a physical therapist, you can usually resume your normal activities gradually over several months after surgery. When a muscle is injured, it’s crucial to refrain from using it excessively until it heals completely.


How long does gluteus medius tear surgery take?

Surgeries typically take between one and two hours to complete.

Is gluteus medius tear surgery painful?

Generally speaking, patients may experience minimal pain, tenderness, and swelling at the operative site. A prescription or over-the-counter painkiller can be used to manage discomfort. Exercises for rehabilitation and physical therapy can also aid pain management and healing.

How long does it take to heal from gluteus medius tear surgery?

After surgery, most patients can resume modest activities, such as walking, within a few weeks.