Gluteus Medius: Definition and What it is

Medically and clinically reviewed by Jonathan Lee, MD and Dylan Peterson, PT, DPT

Gluteus Medius Definition and Meaning

The gluteus medius is one of the three main gluteal muscles that make up the buttocks. It's located between the larger gluteus maximus and the smaller gluteus minimus. It starts at the outer part of the pelvis and stretches down to connect with the femur (thigh bone) near the hip joint. 

The gluteus medius is primarily responsible for abduction of the thigh (moving your thigh away from the midline of the body). It also plays a significant role in stabilizing the pelvis and hip when walking and running.

Gluteus Medius Exercises

The buttock muscles are involved in many movements, so weakness in these muscles, including the gluteus medius, can affect a lot of different daily activities and make you more prone to injury or hip pain. The good news: There’s plenty you can do to strengthen your gluteus medius including targeted exercises like side leg raises, clamshells, and hip abduction. Stretching your gluteus medius is equally important — the glute stretch is one of the best moves to start with.

Common Gluteus Medius Muscle Injuries and Conditions

Gluteus medius injuries are common, and can range from minor strains to more serious tears. Symptoms can include pain and tenderness in the outer hip, discomfort when lying on the affected side, and reduced mobility during activities that involve climbing stairs or prolonged walking. This pain can be effectively treated in many cases with targeted physical therapy and exercises.

Gluteus Medius Injuries: A Hinge Health Perspective

Your muscles — especially the big muscle groups in your buttocks — are very resilient and designed to recover from the kinds of issues that naturally can happen in the course of everyday activities or during exercise.

If you’re reluctant to move because you think you’ll cause more damage or injury to your gluteus medius, know this: Movement is often the fastest way to healing. As our Hinge Health care team says, movement is medicine. Movement helps rehab the buttock muscles by increasing blood flow, and gradually improving their strength and flexibility.  

A physical therapist can work with you on a strengthening and stretching plan that not only alleviates immediate discomfort but also contributes to long-term health and functionality of the buttocks and hips. You can see a physical therapist in person or use a program like Hinge Health to access a PT via telehealth/video visit.

How Hinge Health Can Help You 

If you have joint or muscle pain that makes it hard to move, you can get the relief you’ve been looking for with Hinge Health’s online exercise therapy program.

The best part: You don’t have to leave your home because our program is digital. That means you can easily get the care you need through our app, when and where it works for you. 

Through our program, you’ll have access to therapeutic exercises and stretches for your condition. 

Additionally, you’ll have a personal care team to guide, support, and tailor our program to you. See if you qualify for Hinge Health and confirm free coverage through your employer or benefit plan here.

This article and its contents are provided for educational and informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice or professional services specific to you or your medical condition.


  1. Gluteus Medius. (n.d.). Physiopedia. Retrieved from

  2. Shah, A., & Bordoni, B. (2021). Anatomy, Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Gluteus Medius Muscle. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. 

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