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Gluteus Minimus Muscle: Buttocks, Hip, Thigh, Knee, Calf, Ankle Pain

Trigger points (TrP) in the gluteus minimus (glute min) cause a persistent unrelenting ache. Pain is felt in the hip and can refer to the low back. The pain often descends into the entire length of the outside of the leg.

Muscle strains occur when muscle and tendon fibers tear. The pain occurs in the side of the hip. Pain may also travel down into the side and back of the thigh. Gluteus minimus tears are also caused by repetitive stress movements and the simple wear and tear of living life.

Gluteus Minimus Referred Pain Pattern
Contents of Article


    Where Is The Gluteus Minimus Muscle?

    Gluteus Minimus Muscle

    The gluteus minimus is located on the side of the hip. It attaches the hip bone (ilium) to the upper leg (greater trochanter of the femur). It lies under both the gluteus medius and gluteus maximus.

    What Movements Does It Control?

    • Moves the thigh sideways away from the body
    • Moves the thigh in toward the body (crossing your legs at the knee)
    • Assists in lifting the leg in front of the body

    Looking for detailed muscle anatomy? The Gluteus Minimus Anatomy Page has origin, insertion, innervation, and blood supply information. It also lists agonists and antagonists for each muscle action.

    Gluteus Minimus Muscle Trigger Points Symptoms:

    Trigger point pain is felt in the side of the hip and areas of the buttocks. Trigger points can also refer pain down the outside of the upper thigh into the calf and may go down to the ankle. Trigger points in the glute min are a primary contributor to lower back pain.

    Other symptoms:

    • Pain in the outside of the hip
    • Pain in buttocks
    • Pain in the back of  the thigh that extends down the outside of the leg to the ankle
    • Pain in the upper area of the calf
    • Numbness in buttocks, hip, and the thigh that may travel down to the ankle
    • Pain while walking
    • Difficulty rising from a sitting position
    • Difficulty crossing your legs
    • Pain while lying on the affected side

    Sombra Warm Therapy Gel is recommended for relaxing muscles and relieving pain. It warms without the burning heat of other gels. An excellent choice for pain caused by trigger points, muscle/joint over-use and stiffness, and arthritis. (Not sold in stores)

    Medical professionals and trainers recommend Biofreeze Professional Gel for the pain and symptoms of muscle strains. It provides excellent pain relief and may help reduce inflammation caused by a strain. 

    What Causes Gluteus Minimus Trigger Points To Develop?

    • Sitting for long periods of time with legs crossed
    • Sitting on a wallet in the back pocket
    • Walking and carrying a heavy item on one side such as a briefcase, backpack over one shoulder or filled bucket
    • Carrying a child on the hip
    • Limping for extended periods of time
    • Standing with weight unequally distributed on legs
    • Not warming up before exercising and sports

    TWD Recommends

    The Coccyx Cushion will relieve pressure and provide cushioning while sitting. It is designed to support the hips and lower back. If you have trigger points or have strained the gluteus muscles, this will help you sit comfortably.

    How To Avoid Development of Trigger Points In The Gluteus Minimus

    • Don’t sit with your legs crossed for long periods of time.
    • Do not develop the habit of standing with your weight supported on one leg. Keep your weight evenly distributed.
    • If possible, do not carry heavy items such as a briefcase or heavy bucket. Consider using a rolling briefcase or a hand dolly for heavy items.
    • Take your wallet, phone, and other bulky items out of your back pocket before sitting.
    • Always take time to do a proper warm-up and stretches before exercise, competitions and strenuous activities.

    TWD Recommends

    Cureve Hot Cold Pack can be used for warm and cold treatments. It is recommended that you use cold packs for injuries, swelling, and after a TrP treatment. Use a warm treatment when the muscle is tight and needs to relax.

    Gluteus Minimus Trigger Point Treatment

    The easiest way to learn how to treat trigger points is to find a massage therapist, physical therapist, or chiropractor that will show you how to treat specific TrPs.

    Another consideration is to learn how to self-treat. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook is an excellent book that will show you the location of TrPs and treatment methods. TrP therapy is not hard to learn, but it does take practice and a little patience to learn the feel of trigger points.

    Note: To treat trigger points, you will need a tool. The workbook suggests a small hardball. The Massage Balls are the right size and work very well.

    However, if you experience mobility or balance problems, you will need to buy the Thera Cane Massager. To use the balls for treatment requires you to lean up against the wall with the ball between the wall and your hip. With the Thera Cane, you can do the treatment while standing or even sitting if necessary.

    Treatment consistency is important! Treatments of 1-2 minutes spread throughout the day are recommended to eliminate the TrPs.

    TWD Recommends

    Doctors and physical therapists often recommend TENS to relax the muscles and ease pain. The Belifu TENS Unit Muscle Stimulator is highly recommended and a great choice for treating muscle pain throughout the body.

    How Long Before I Feel A Reduction In Pain?

    Gluteus minimus trigger points can be stubborn, but many people report a noticeable difference in stiffness and pain reduction after the first treatment.

    Be consistent with your treatments. It is important to continue treating trigger points until they are gone.

    Interesting facts:

    Three combined symptoms that point to gluteus minimus problem:

    1. Difficulty crossing the legs
    2. Limping because of hip pain
    3. The pain levels are high and constant
    4. Pain caused by trigger points in the gluteus minimus is often diagnosed as sciatica

    Gluteus minimus pain and symptoms can be similar to, contribute to, and be affected by these medical diagnoses:

    • S1 nerve compression
    • L4 or L5 radiculopathy
    • Sciatica
    • Stenosis
    • Trochanteric bursitis
    • Intervertebral stenosis
    • Hip dislocation
    • Hip Pointer
    • Piriformis syndrome
    • Tensor fasciae latae syndrome
    • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
    • Ankylosing Spondylitis
    • Cauda equina syndrome
    • Coccygodynia
    • Coxa plana
    • Cauda equina syndrome


    Other muscles that should be considered and examined:

    Satellite trigger points associated with the gluteus minimus muscle:

    If you find trigger points in the gluteus minimus,  you will likely find trigger points in other muscles. These are known as satellite trigger points. Be sure and check these muscles:

    • Piriformis
    • Gluteus Medius
    • Gluteus Maximus
    • Quadratus Lumborum
    • Vastus Lateralis
    • Peroneus Longus

    TWD Recommends

    If you sit at a desk all day, consider investing in a standing desk. Alternating sitting and standing during the day will help eliminate back, hip, and leg pain. The VariDesk Pro Plus 30 is sturdy and well made. It can be set up on most desktops.

    Gluteus Minimus Strain

    The pain from gluteus minimus strains is often due to repetitive overuse of the muscle. The pain in the hip is aching, persistent, and centralized toward the outside of the hip. The pain often radiates throughout the hip and buttock. If the tear is not treated in the early stages of injury, the pain will extend down the outside of the leg, mimicking sciatica.

    Gluteus minimus strains caused by an injury are not common but do occur. The pain is usually sharp and immediate. There may be a sensation of tearing or popping. If the tears are significant, it may be impossible for the leg to support your weight.

    Symptoms of Glute Min Strain:

    • Sudden intense pain in the hip, sometimes with a tearing or popping sensation (acute injury)
    • Discomfort and increasing pain toward the outside of the hip and areas of the buttocks that can descend the outside of the leg (repetitive stress)
    • Pain increases when walking
    • Significant pain walking up hills, stairs, and inclines
    • Limited range of motion in the hip
    • Weakness in the hip
    • Swelling and bruising

    What Causes Glute Min Strains?

    • Not taking time for a proper warm-up, poor conditioning, and muscle fatigue contributes to strains.
    • Long distant running
    • Walking or running up an incline or stairs
    • Aggressive jumping and lunging. High jumpers, long jumpers, and hurdlers tend to injury the glute min on the side of the landing leg.
    • Falling and landing on the side of the hip or buttocks
    • Contact sports

    Sports and activities that contribute to gluteus minimus strains:

    • High jump
    • Long jump
    • Hurdle
    • Basketball
    • Volleyball
    • Ice skating
    • Collision Sports
      • Football
      • Soccer
      • Hockey
    • Walking up inclines such as mountain hiking, running stairs

    Glute Min Strain Treatments

    Stop activities that stress the muscle to give the muscle a chance to heal, which includes exercise and walking long distances. Depending on the severity of the strain, this could be a few days up to several months.

    Use the R.I.C.E protocol

    • Rest – Limit hip movement and weight-bearing on the affected side. Get your sleep, take extra naps. Rest is important to encourage the healing process.
    • Ice – Apply ice or cold packs every 2 hours for 20 minutes per treatment for the first 24-72 hours. Using icy cold longer can cause soft tissue damage.
    • Compression – Apply pressure to reduce swelling and provide support. A Velcro hip support is the easiest to use, but an Ace bandage can also be used.
    • Elevate: Use pillows to elevate and cushion the hip.

    Follow the protocol for the first 24 – 72 hours until the pain and swelling decrease.

    Once the swelling and pain have lessened, alternating hot and cold packs throughout the day can bring relief. Use a cold pack for 20 minutes, wait at least an hour and apply a warm pack for 20 minutes. You can do this as often as you like during the day.

    TENS units can help reduce pain and are recommended by doctors and therapists. Follow the insert directions for node placement and settings.

    How long does it take a glute min strain to heal?

    A Grade 1 or mild strain happens when a few muscle or tendon fibers tear. You will feel some pain and maybe a slight pulling sensation when the injury occurs. Though there may be some soreness and minor loss of range of motion, daily activities are not significantly affected.

    A Grade 2 or moderate strain is a partial tearing of the muscle or tendon up to halfway through the tissue. There is sudden sharp pain when an injury occurs, which will make you stop whatever activity you were doing. Daily activities will be affected by pain and stiffness. Depending on the number of fibers torn, healing time can be from 4 weeks up to 12 weeks and possibly more.

    A Grade 3 strain, also known as a severe strain, is serious. There is immediate debilitating pain. You may find that you cannot move your leg or put weight on the leg because most of the muscle and/or tendon fibers have torn. Grade 3 strains take several months and up to a year to heal and should be monitored by a doctor. Grade 3 strains are rare in the gluteus minimus muscle; however, if you suspect it has occurred, seek medical help.

    Muscles with similar pain patterns

    Gluteus Medius
    Gluteus Maximus
    Piriformis Muscle
    Tensor Fasciae Latae