Gluteus Minimus Muscle
Action – abduction of hip
flexion and medial rotation of hip (anterior fibres)
extension and lateral rotation of hip (posterior fibres)
stabilises the pelvis and prevents the free limb from sagging during gait
Origin – outer ilium (between anterior and inferior gluteal lines)
Insertion – greater trochanter on the femur (anterior surface)
Nerve – Superior gluteal nerve (L4-S1)
Gluteus minimus lies below gluteus medius and is therefore difficult to feel. It has essentially the
same function as gluteus medius. (which is why we have included the medius videos below.)
The muscle plays a key role in normal gait (walking or running) by stabilising the pelvis when the
opposite leg is off the ground. If weak, the pelvis can drop towards the opposite side in what is
known as a ‘Trendelenburg gait’.
Gluteus minimus can be injured from falling, blunt trauma such as those experienced in contact
sports, repetitive stress from hip extension activities or long periods sitting or sleeping in one
position. Pain in the region should be differentiated from other pathologies such as trochanteric
bursitis, lumbar, sacroiliac or hip joint dysfunction, or trigger point referral from muscles in the low
Trigger points in gluteus minimus have a large referral pattern, and the discomfort caused is often
called ‘pseudo-sciatica’ because of the similar sensation and location of the pain. Anecdotally we have found that clients would usually describe the sensation as an ache (tooth ache) feeling rather than a sharp shooting pain if it was muscular rather than impingement of the sciatic nerve at the spine.
If you think you may have an issue with your gluteus minimus, consult your local Myotherapist for an assessment of your specific situation.
Lie on your side with the lower leg slightly bent, top leg straight with toes pointed slightly towards
the floor. Raise the straight top leg as far as possible (it may only be 20-30 degrees), pause and
slowly lower back down.
Lie on your back, knees bent and feet on the ground. Place the ankle of the side to be stretched to
just above the knee of the opposite leg, then use your hands to pull this opposite leg towards your
chest. You should feel the stretch on the side/back of the hip that is being stretched.
Laying on the side you want to work on. Propped up on your forearm with your bottom knee bent and your top foot on the floor just behind your bent knee.
Place the ball on the floor underneath your gluteus minimus and lower yourself onto the ball. Roll on the ball until you find a tender spot. Once on a tender spot, hold there. Do some nice breathing into the belly. Let your body sink onto the ball. (You can adjust the pressure using your forearm and the foot on the floor) After about 20 secs or so you should feel the discomfort start to subside. Once this happens, move onto the next tender spot.
Contributors: Ben Lewis & Jesse Kingsbury