Abductor (Gluteus Medius) Tears


What is a hip abductor tear?

The hip contains a large group of muscles call the hip abductors. They include the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and tensor fascia lata muscles. The gluteus medius is located on the outer surface of the hip, and it assists with pelvic stability, hip abduction, and internal and external rotation of the hip. Tears of the gluteus medius usually occur where the tendon inserts at the greater trochanter, causing lateral hip pain.  

A gluteus medius tear is also referred to as the rotator cuff tear of the hip. Tears can occur due to traumatic injury or degenerative conditions such as tendinopathy (chronic inflammation of the gluteus medius tendon). Gluteus medius tears cause pain and weakness on the affected side of the hip.


What are the symptoms?

 The most noticeable symptom of an abductor tear is pain. Other symptoms may include:

  • Pain or tenderness over the lateral aspect of the hip
  • Discomfort or pain with continued activities of running, climbing stairs and prolonged sitting or walking
  • Weakness with hip movements
  • Unable to effectively bear weight on the affected hip
  • Difficulty lying on affected side


How are abductor tears treated?

Early treatment and diagnosis can prevent this painful condition from becoming a chronic problem that might require surgery. Initial conservative treatment typically consists of:

  • Rest your hip by refraining from activities until it is healed
  • Apply ice to your hip to reduce pain and inflammation caused by injury
  • Anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections may be given to reduce the pain and inflammation
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and increase stability of the hip 

If your symptoms do not respond to conservative measures, Dr. Potts may recommend surgical treatment with a minimally invasive hip abductor repair in order to help restore the strength and function of the gluteus medius.