The muscles in your body are essential to allowing you to move around and do the things you need and want to do. A gluteus medius tear is very painful and debilitating. Learn how to tell if that could be what you are experiencing, and the available treatment options.
At his orthopedic surgery practice in Houston, Texas, Dr. Joshua D. Harris provides his patients with the latest in diagnostic services and high-tech treatment options for repairing injuries and getting you moving again. Dr. Harris is experienced in diagnosing gluteus medius tears and provides you with the latest and best treatments to get back to your regular life as quickly as possible
What is the gluteus medius?
There are three gluteal muscles. Your gluteus medius muscle is located on the side of your hip, underneath your main buttock muscle, the gluteus maximus. The third muscle in this group is the gluteus minimus muscle, which works with the other two to control all the movements of your hips. The gluteus medius is under your hip bursa, which is frequently a source of pain called bursitis. The bursa is under the iliotibial band, also known as the IT band.
Your gluteus medius is the muscle that keeps your pelvis level and stable when you walk. It allows you to lift your leg to the side. A tear in the gluteus medius causes significant discomfort and makes it very difficult to move normally. Patients with gluteus medius tears frequently also have bursitis at the same time.
What causes a gluteus medius tear?
A tear to the gluteus medius can be the result of a fall that causes your hip muscle to be pulled outside your normal range of motion, causing a tear in the muscle. The tear can be the result of a sports injury. It may have been caused by a condition such as tendinopathy, which is degeneration or inflammation of the gluteus medius tendon.
What are the signs of a gluteus medius tear?
Depending on the exact location and severity of the tear, the symptoms and severity can vary. However, they are likely to include some of the following:
- Pain on the side of the hip or in your buttocks
- Swelling or inflammation
- Difficulty sitting
- Limping while walking
- Decreased hip range of motion
- Rotating hip causes discomfort
- Pain at night, sometimes preventing sleep
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to get an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon as soon as possible. A gluteus medius tear can be diagnosed based on the symptoms you are experiencing and through a physical exam. Sometimes X-rays and an MRI may be needed to characterize the tear anatomically.
Gluteus medius tears may be mistaken for bursitis or a condition in your lower back. If you experience symptoms of a gluteus medius tear that doesn’t get better after rest, icing, taking anti-inflammatory or pain medications, and modifying your activities, you should see Dr. Harris for a consultation.
Treatments for gluteus medius tear
As with most soft tissue injuries, you can follow the RICE method for treating your injury. This includes rest, icing, compression, and elevation. These actions will reduce inflammation in the affected area, which will also reduce the pain you experience.
If those more straightforward methods don’t work, you need to get your injury examined, diagnosed, and treated by an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Harris completes a physical examination and talks to you about your symptoms to gain an understanding of your injury. If needed, he orders diagnostic tests such as x-rays or an MRI to inform his diagnosis.
The exact location and severity of your injury determine the treatments that Dr. Harris recommends. He typically starts with conservative treatments such as rest, physical therapy, and pain medications. If those treatments aren’t sufficient to heal your injury, he likely will recommend that you have surgery to repair the tear in your muscle.
If you experience pain in your hip following an injury, you may have a gluteus medius tear. The only way to know for sure is to have the injury examined and diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon.
To set up an appointment with Dr. Joshua D. Harris, call our office or use our convenient online booking tool.