Place your hands on your buttocks and stand up from a seated position. Did you feel them fire? Now walk with your hands in your back pockets. Do you feel them active at the end of your stride? No? Maybe you should be in rehab. You should!
The glutes have been the fascination of many, including Michaelangelo (Ever seen the sculpture of David?). Perhaps if you have a patient with recalcitrant back or hip problems, you should consider looking closer at their gluteal group.
The gluteus maximus, the most superficial of the 3 gluteii, is the largest, coarsest fibered muscle in the body. It attaches proximally on the ilia, sacrum, coccyx and sacrotuberous ligament and slopes 45 degrees inferolaterally to attach distally, predominantly to the iliotibial tract with a smaller contribution attaching to the gluteal tuberosity of the femur. In open chain, it is an extender and lateral rotator of the thigh, as well as the upper fibers acting as abductors and lower fibers adductors of the hip.
The superior fibers of the gluteus maximus are part of the lateral line of musculature (as described by Myers in “Anatomy Trains”) as it diverges at the hip, along with the gluteus medius and tenor fascia lata. This lateral line helps provide stabilization in the saggital plane, beginning at the peroneus longus and traveling ultimately to the splenius and sternocleidomastoid. From this perspective, we can view gluteal function during gait (ie closed chain) as rotators and abductors/adductors of the pelvis and an extensor of the torso
The gluteus medius and minimus attach proximally between the anterior and posterior gluteal lines and distally at the lateral surface of the greater trochanter for the former and anteriorly for the latter . They act as abductors and medial rotators of the thigh in open chain, and abductors and external rotators of the pelvis in closed chain, the anterior fibers of the minimus and medius probably assisting in forward motion of he contralateral pelvis. Sahrmann states “the posterior portions of the medius act as abductors, external rotator and extenders of the thigh, with the anterior portion also assisting in hip flexion”.
The Glutes; they’re more than just another pretty muscle….
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