From what I read on Wikipedia, all functions of the gluteus minimus are mirrored by the gluteus medius. Additionally, the gluteus medius is larger than the gluteus minimus (see comparative images here), which leads me to believe that the gluteus medius is stronger than the gluteus minimus.

Subsequently, I would tend to guess that a full tear of the gluteus minimus tendon does not have any functional implications. I.e., a human might have a full tear of the gluteus minimus tendon without any limitation of their movements. Is my guess correct?


1 Answer 1


You’re correct that the gluteus minimus is redundant in function with the gluteus medius, but an isolated gluteus minimus tear still causes functional problems because of the associated inflammatory response and subsequent pain deemed “greater trochanteric pain syndrome,” as the greater trochanter is the insertion site for hip abductor muscles like the gluteus minimus and medius:

MRI Web Clinic — May 2004, Gluteus Minimus Tear & Trochanteric Bursitis, Michael E. Stadnick, M.D. (mirror)

Clinical History: 70 year-old female with chronic left hip pain...What is your diagnosis?

Diagnosis: Gluteus minimus tear of the left hip with associated trochanteric bursitis.

Discussion: Lateral hip pain is frequently a challenging diagnostic and therapeutic problem. In the past, the presentation of chronic lateral hip pain with tenderness over the greater trochanter was attributed to trochanteric bursitis. This symptom complex, called greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS), can mimic other serious causes of hip pain...Abductor tendon (gluteus minimus and gluteus medius) tears are becoming increasingly recognized as a frequent cause of pain at the hip. In fact, tears of the abductor tendons, instead of trochanteric bursitis, are likely the most common cause of GTPS.

In a large majority of patients, trochanteric bursitis or distension will accompany an abductor tendon tear. The frequent coexistence of trochanteric bursitis and abductor tendinopathy has led some authors to suggest that bursitis may in fact be a result of the underlying tendinopathy.

Early descriptions of abductor tendon tears at the hip emphasized involvement of the gluteus medius tendon as being most common. However, subsequent papers have revealed a roughly equal frequency of involvement of the gluteus minimus and medius tendons.


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