By Victoria Athey BSc MSc MCSP. Physiotherapist and Sports Massage Therapist at 360Athletic
Do you see that person cat-walk strutting down the street a real wiggle in their hips ? Funnily enough they are showing off their extremely WEAK Gluteus Medius muscles and a whole lack of hip stability … maybe not quite the look they were going for.
A ‘cat-walk bottom wiggle’ is in fact very similar to a Trendelenburg Test used in physiotherapy almost daily to assess the stability of your hip, with a firm focus on the Gluteus Medius role in preventing any sideways drop. You can try it yourself now as it is a very simple test:
- Simply stand on one leg – for example let’s start standing on the left leg. (Best to either stand facing a mirror, film yourself or recruit someone to watch you)
- As you can see in the picture if (when standing on the left leg) your right hip DROPS this can be due to weakness of your right Gluteus Medius muscle.
- Some athletic patients are great at compensating so may actually be able to keep their pelvis in neutral however tell tale signs will be the lower leg adducting (moving towards your midline) and internally rotating (again towards your midline).
- Dysfunction of this muscle is commonly found in several pathologies including: Iliotibial Band Syndome, Patellofemoral injuries, Ankle injuries.
WHAT IS THE GLUTEUS MEDIUS?
The Gluteus Med plays an important role in walking, running, and almost any lateral movement. It works to maintain the level of the pelvis when weight bearing on one leg. For example, when you swing your right foot across in walking, your left Gluteus Med is contracting to prevent the right side of your hip from dropping. If your Glute Med is weak, this will impede on any sport that requires side to side movement.
What Are The Consequences Of Gluteus Medius Weakness?
As we spoke about above if this muscle is weak, your pelvis will drop on the other side. This is referred to as a Trendelenburg sign. Any weakness through your Gluteus Med will lead your body to compensate with other movements and muscles. It can create extra stress on other joints and can lead to pain in those regions, such as your lower back and your knees.
So How Can I Strengthen It?
- Book into our 360 Online training programs as these incorporate a range of intelligently designed exercises to strengthen your hip structures in functional movements and all other areas.
- Book a 360 physiotherapy assessment here– we can fully assess you as an individual and set you up with corrections to any area that needs strengthening
- Try out these simple exercises to get started with:
- Earlier stages: Clams with kick
- Mid stages: Crab walks
- Advanced stages: Fire hydrant