Gluteus Medius Trigger Points - Travell & Simons "Myofascial Pain and Disfunction"

The Gluteus Medius muscle is a critical buttock muscle. Gluteus Medius is essential for stability, walking, and lifting properly. When Glute Medius acts up, it can pull the pelvis downward, resulting in the loss of the natural, healthy low back curve.

Topics:

  • What is Gluteus Medius and what does it do?
  • Gluteus Medius referred pain patterns (low back, tailbone, and butt)
  • Glute Medius pain symptoms
  • Releasing Gluteus Medius trigger points

Glute Anatomy and Trigger Points - QL Claw

Gluteus Medius muscle [1]: The Gluteus Medius (red) along with Gluteus Maximus (white, cut) and Gluteus Minimus (white, located under Gluteus Medius)

Gluteus Medius Function:

The Glute Medius muscle functions as a hip abductor, meaning it extends the leg out directly to the side of the body. This function is not too common in the human experience - the Gluteus Medius actually gets most of its work from walking and running. Each side Gluteus Medius is active at opposite times during these activities: each side Medius works when you are standing on the respective leg. This means that when standing on your right leg, your right Glute Medius is engaged to prevent you from falling over to the left. Translating to the single leg stability required during sprinting or distance jogging, Gluteus Medius works hard during each foot plant to keep the body upright. If you've ever felt sore in the top-side of your butt (some describe it as the "pocket of the hip") after running, that means your Gluteus Medius was worked hard. Clear as mud? Great. 

Due to its crucial role in hip stability, Gluteus Medius is also very active in high impact sports and during heavy lifting. High level athletes tend to be very strong in this region, especially if their sport requires lateral movement. For the layman, it is easy to overwork the Gluteus Medius when moving houses. 

Gluteus Medius Referred Pain:

This is your friendly reminder that it is a mistake to assume the pain is coming from where it hurts [2]. As stated by Amber and Clair Davies - "It's a mistake to assume the problem is in the place that hurts!" [2]. The Gluteus Medius is no exception, and should be taken seriously as a potential source of low back issues.

The Gluteus Medius referred pain chart is gnarly. It can refer pain to the low back, tailbone, buttock, and everywhere else you see the pink madness below.

Gluteus Medius Referred Pain Patterns Trigger Points - QL Claw

Gluteus Medius Referred Pain Patterns [1]

Gluteus Medius Pain Symptoms:

According to Travell & Simons: "Patients with active trigger points in the gluteus medius muscle are likely to have a chief report of pain during walking and with weight-bearing activities." [1]. The patient will typically report increased pain with carrying load, walking, running, or climbing up stairs [1].

Patients also may struggle with standing too long, getting in and out of the car, standing up from sitting, and shifting weight laterally from one foot to the other. Pain in the low back and upper buttock region (around the waistline) are signals that Gluteus Medius should be investigated for trigger points [1].

Gluteus Medius Trigger Point Release:

Gluteus Medius is a fairly wide, fan shaped muscle with lots of room for trigger points to develop. Trigger points can develop all along the wide part of the fan, around level with the waistband [2]. I typically massage the right, center, and left portions on the Glute Medius when I suspect it to contain tightness, and this has proved effective.

The best tool to release Gluteus Medius trigger points is the QL Claw device. With the QL Claw, you can massage trigger points in all 5 muscles that contribute to low back pain - and Gluteus Medius is certainly not left out. The Ramp portion of the Claw offers a nice base of support on the tailbone while the Trigger portion of the Claw releases the Gluteus Medius. Own your pain with QL Claw today!

Gluteus Medius Trigger Point Release Using the QL Claw Device

Gluteus Medius Release Using the QL Claw Device

 

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Sources:

[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.

[2] Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.

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