Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus Tears

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Gluteus Tear Specialist

You are at a higher risk for a gluteus medius tear or gluteus minimus tear if you have a degenerative condition of the hip or other hip injuries, such as osteoarthritis of the hip, bursitis of the hip, iliotibial band syndrome, etc.  Common symptoms of a gluteus medius tear or gluteus minimus tear include pain on the outside of the hip and buttocks, abnormal gait, lower back pain, and limited mobility.  Gluteus tear specialist, Doctor Benedict Nwachukwu provides diagnosis as well as both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Manhattan, New York City, NY who have developed gluteus tears. Contact Dr. Nwachukwu’s team today!

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What is a gluteus medius or a gluteus minimus tear?

The gluteus medius and gluteus minimus are two of the gluteal muscles that make up the outer buttocks in the human body. They are broad, thick and relatively strong muscles important in making sure the hips are level. These muscles work together to help maintain balance and lower body control. When these muscles are injured or become weak, the result is an abnormal gait, gluteus medius pain and lower back pain. Serving patients in Manhattan, New York City and the surrounding New York boroughs, Dr. Benedict Nwachukwu, orthopedic hip specialist, is highly trained and experienced at diagnosing and treating both gluteus medius and gluteus minimus tears.

How does a gluteus muscle become torn?

A tear in the gluteal muscles typically occurs at the area where the muscle attaches to the femur bone. Gluteal tears are often degenerative in nature and individuals who have degenerative conditions of the hip or other hip injuries, such as osteoarthritis of the hip, bursitis of the hip, iliotibial band syndrome, etc., are at a higher risk for a gluteus medius tear or gluteus minimus tear.  A tear can also occur to the gluteal muscles through sports trauma in athletes who repeatedly use their hip flexor muscles. Runners, in particular, are at an increased risk for gluteus injuries

What are the symptoms of a gluteus medius or gluteus minimus tear?

The primary symptoms of a gluteus medius tear or a gluteus minimus tear include the following:

  • Pain on the outside of the hip and buttocks and abnormal gait.
  • Lower back pain, which often leads patients to believe they have a lower back/spine injury, rather than a hip injury.
  • Buttock pain.
  • Weakness and limited mobility.
  • Symptoms that worsen with prolonged sitting, standing or walking
  • Limited mobility.

What are the grades of gluteus medius or minimus tears?

Tears of the gluteus medius or of the gluteus minimus are graded in the same manner, depending on the severity of the tear:

  • Grade 1: Mild pain, no loss of mobility
  • Grade 2:  Partial tear with mild pain; patients may experience a loss in strength and flexibility
  • Grade 3: Full/complete tear; pain is more severe, complete loss of strength, difficulty moving the affected leg and limited mobility

How are gluteus medius and gluteus minimus tears diagnosed?

In most cases, tears of the gluteal muscles can be detected through a physical exam. Dr. Nwachukwu will evaluate the area causing the gluteus medius pain and will apply pressure to the hip area, as well as perform a strength-testing exam which will reveal additional weakness in the hip. In some patients, an abnormal gait is visible, and the leg associated with the injured area will drag or appear to be weaker. A diagnosis can typically be made via the physical exam. However, in order to rule out other injuries and conditions that may be causing the pain and the other noted symptoms, Dr. Nwachukwu may order an X-ray and/or MRI to better visualize the structures around the hip.

What is the treatment for gluteal tears?

Non-Surgical Treatment:

In some cases, depending on the severity and grade of the tear, conservative treatment will be prescribed to treat the injury. Ice and over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs may be recommended in order to reduce the pain and inflammation. Athletes may need to avoid sports activities and limit prolonged exercises and movement so that healing can occur.

Surgical Treatment:

For patients who require surgery, Dr. Nwachukwu will use an arthroscopic (endoscopic) or open surgical approach depending on the size and chronicity of the tear. The gluteus medius tear and/or gluteus minimus tear is reattached during surgery using sutures.

How long is the recovery following the repair of a gluteus Medius or gluteus minimus Tear?

Typically, patients can expect to be partial weight bearing for 6 weeks following surgery. It typically takes 3 months for repair tissues to heal and after that therapy is focused on restoring joint mechanics. After surgery, improvements will continue for approximately a year or more. 

Dr. Nwachukwu will also provide a well-supervised physical therapy program beginning with therapy immediately following hip surgery. It is essential that movement and mobility begins slowly, but immediately following surgery, so a normal range of motion can be achieved over time. It is very important that patients follow the protocol for post-op recovery as set forth by Dr. Nwachukwu.

For more information on gluteus medius and gluteus minimus tears and the treatment available, please contact the office of Benedict Nwachukwu, MD, orthopedic hip specialist serving Manhattan, New York City and surrounding New York boroughs. 

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646-885-8250
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Location

HSS  Sports Medicine Institute West Side
610 W 58th Street
New York, NY 10019

HSS Brooklyn
148 39th Street, 7th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11232

Fax: 646-885-8252

Office Hours

HSS Sports Medicine Institute West Side
Monday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

HSS Brooklyn
Friday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

About the Author:

Benedict Nwachukwu, MD, MBA is an orthopedic shoulder, knee and hip specialist at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), nationally ranked as the best in orthopedics for 10 years by U.S. News & World Report. His academic credentials include undergrad at Columbia University, Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School, residency at HSS, and sports medicine fellowship training at world-renowned Rush University. Dr. Nwachukwu is a member of the HSS Hip Preservation Service team that brings together the expertise and experience of some of the best hip surgeons in New York City, NY and the USA. He is a professional sports Team Physician for New York Red Bulls and NBA Player’s Association; previously serving the Chicago Bulls and Chicago White Sox.