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What is a Gluteus Tendon Tear?

The gluteal muscles (situated in the buttocks) are necessary for the stability and movement of the hip joints. The tendons of two gluteal muscles (gluteus medius and gluteal minimus) are attached at the outer hip region and are often called the “rotator cuff of the hip.” These tendons may be subject to injury or tearing due to various reasons. Since these gluteal muscles are involved in abduction (movement of your leg away from the midline of the body), the tears are also called abductor tendon tears.

Causes of Gluteus Tendon Tears

There exist numerous causes associated with gluteal tendon tears including:

  • Traumatic hip injuries
  • Hip tendinitis (irritation and swelling of the tendons) from sports-related overuse
  • Poor muscle strength
  • Age-related degeneration of the tendons
  • Injury during total hip replacement surgery

Symptoms of Gluteus Tendon Tears

The common symptoms of gluteal tendon tears include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the hip region which is usually aggravated by lying on the affected side
  • Abnormal gait
  • Muscle weakness

Diagnosis of Gluteus Tendon Tears
Your doctor will review your symptoms and physically examine your hip to diagnose a gluteus tendon tear. An MRI scan is performed to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of Gluteus Tendon Tears

Partial tears may be treated by conservative therapy without surgery. This can involve the following measures:

  • Modifying your daily activities
  • Rest
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers
  • Physical therapy involving strengthening exercises

Surgical intervention may be recommended if conservative treatment fails to improve your symptoms.

Other Hip Topics

  • American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons
  • AOSSM-American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • Midwestern University