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Physical Therapy Exercises for the Gluteus Minimus
An injury to the gluteus minimus muscle requires careful treatment to heal properly. Consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and to develop a comprehensive rehabilitation plan based on your goals and needs, and then a physical therapist to design a specific exercise program to restore your flexibility and strength to pre-injury levels or beyond. Follow their advice closely to recover as quickly as possible and to prevent recurring problems.
Anatomy and Biomechanics
The gluteus minimus muscle originates on the outside of the ilium -- the high arching bone on either side of your pelvis -- and inserts into the front of the greater trochanter of your thigh bone -- the bony protrusion that you can feel on the outside of your hip. The muscle assists the gluteus medius muscle with hip abduction, which occurs when you spread your legs sideways; and the anterior, or front, muscle fibers help outwardly rotate your thigh bone within your hip socket.
Performing flexibility exercises, including both dynamic and static stretches, can aid in the rehabilitation process for a gluteus minimus injury. The lying crossover stretch, for example, involves crossing your injured leg over your opposite thigh repeatedly while lying on your back. You can also hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds at a time. Another variation involves bending your knee from a seated position and pulling it toward your opposite shoulder until you feel a gentle stretch through the affected area.
Performing isometric exercises and dynamic resistance exercises will restore your strength after suffering a gluteus minimus injury. Isometric exercises involve contracting the muscle while maintaining its length. The side-lying exercise, for example, involves pressing the outside of your ankle against the underside of a bed for five to 10 seconds while lying on your opposite side. You can perform the same exercise dynamically by moving away from the bed and lifting and lowering your leg repeatedly. Hold a barbell across the outside of your foot, or wear an ankle weight to increase the amount of resistance for the dynamic exercise.
Rest for several days after suffering the injury to allow the healing process to begin, then start exercising according to your rehabilitation plan. Perform flexibility and isometric exercises daily at first, and add dynamic resistance exercises several times per week after your pain subsides. Check back with your physician if you suffer any setbacks.
Matthew Schirm has worked in the sports-performance field since 1998. He has professional experience as a college baseball coach and weight-training instructor. He earned a Master of Science in human movement from A.T. Still University in 2009.