Glute Minimus Tear: Non-Surgical Treatment Options Explained

Glute Minimus Tear: Non-Surgical Treatment Options Explained

A gluteus minimus tear can bring discomfort and impede daily activities. Thankfully, surgical intervention is not the only solution. Various non-invasive treatments can alleviate pain and restore function. In this article, we will explore some of these effective alternatives to help individuals suffering from this condition return to their normal routines.

The gluteus minimus is a crucial muscle in maintaining hip stability and function, playing a vital role in daily activities such as walking and running. When this muscle tears, it not only leads to considerable pain but also affects overall movement. Typically, a combination of activity modifications, over-the-counter pain medications, and physical therapy can provide success in treating gluteal tears without resorting to surgery. (University of Utah Health)

In this blog, we delve into both prevention measures and non-surgical treatments that have shown success for individuals diagnosed with a gluteus minim.Rectangle5 minimus tear. With a little patience and adherence to suggested therapies, it’s possible to manage and overcome the challenges related to this injury, avoiding the need for surgery.

Understanding Glute Minimus Tear

Anatomy of Gluteal Muscles

The gluteal muscles comprise the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. These muscles are responsible for the movement, stability, and support of the hips and thighs. The gluteus maximus is the largest of the three and plays a crucial role in extending and rotating the thigh. The gluteus medius and minimus, positioned beneath the gluteus maximus, are responsible for stabilizing the pelvis and assisting in the internal and external rotation of the leg. They also attach to the pelvis and the greater trochanter, a bony prominence located on the upper lateral side of the thigh bone.

Glute muscle anatomy
Glute Muscle Anatomy

Causes and Risk Factors

Gluteus medius and minimus tears can occur due to various reasons, with overuse and acute injuries being the most common. These tears often result in pain, weakness, and limited mobility in the hip and thigh area. The risk factors for gluteal tendon tears include:

  • Repetitive motion, especially in activities like running or jumping, can cause increased stress on the gluteal tendons, leading to inflammation and weakening of the tendons over time.
  • Muscular imbalances, as stronger or tighter muscles, can place greater strain on the weaker or more flexible muscles, causing them to become susceptible to injury.
  • Age is another factor, as tendon elasticity tends to decrease with normal aging, resulting in a higher likelihood of tendon tears.
  • Improper biomechanics, such as poor alignment during physical activities, can also place excess stress on the tendons, leading to injury.

In order to treat gluteus minimus tears without surgery, several non-surgical options are available, depending on the severity of the condition. These treatments typically include rest, activity modifications, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or Tylenol, and physical therapy. To prevent further injury and promote healing, it’s important to:

  • Stay active while avoiding activities that can exacerbate hip pain or place excessive stress on the gluteal muscles.
  • Strengthen the glutes and other supportive muscles through targeted exercises prescribed by a physical therapist.
  • Address any muscle imbalances or biomechanical issues with proper training and movement techniques.

In most cases, with the right approach and adherence to a comprehensive treatment plan, individuals can recover from gluteus minimus tears and return to normal activities without surgery.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Signs of a Glute Minimus Tear

A glute minimus tear is an injury involving one of the muscles in the outer hip area. This condition can cause significant discomfort and hip pain. Some of the common signs of a glute minimus tear include:

  • Pain around the outer hip and upper thigh
  • Swelling or tenderness around the affected area
  • Weakness in the hip or leg, particularly when lifting the leg away from the body or during activities that put weight on the hip
  • A limp or altered gait to accommodate the pain
  • Difficulty sleeping on the affected side

Pain associated with a glute minimus tear may be confused with other conditions, such as greater trochanteric pain syndrome, bursitis, or tendinitis.

Diagnosing Techniques

In order to accurately diagnose a glute minimus tear or other hip pain, medical professionals will employ several techniques:

  1. Physical examination: This involves evaluating the range of motion in the hip and assessing for tenderness, swelling, or muscle weakness. Healthcare providers will also look for signs of inflammation or other issues in the hip and surrounding area.
  2. Imaging tests: An X-ray or other imaging tests, such as an MRI, may be ordered to provide a clearer view of the hip’s anatomy and to potentially identify any tears or other issues with the tendons and muscles.
  3. Palpation: This involves the healthcare provider using their hands to feel for areas of discomfort and tenderness around the hip and buttocks. This can further help in identifying the specific location of the tear or injury.
  4. Functional tests: The patient may be asked to perform certain movements or activities, such as walking or standing on one leg, to help the healthcare provider assess their hip function and identify any issues related to the glute minimus tear.

These diagnostic techniques can help determine the cause of the hip pain and provide insights into the best course of treatment for the patient. While a glute minimus tear can be a painful and limiting condition, proper diagnosis and treatment can help lessen discomfort and improve function in the affected hip.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Physical Therapy and Exercises

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in the non-surgical treatment of gluteus minimus tears. A physical therapist will design a personalized treatment plan based on the patient’s specific needs and goals. Typically, the focus will be on improving mobility, strength, and flexibility while minimizing pain.

Some common early-stage physical therapy exercises for gluteus minimus tear treatment may include:

  • Clamshells
  • Hip abductions
  • Bridges
  • Single-leg balances

Following the physical therapist’s guidance and adhering to the prescribed exercise routine is essential. Maintaining a balanced exercise program and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle can help prevent future injuries and promote overall well-being.


Strengthening is the most important activity that you can do to recover from a glute minimus tear. Strengthening helps stimulate the healing process to form new and stronger fibers in the torn muscle and tendons. Strengthening also improves local blood flow and helps calm down the related nerves, which helps reduce pain levels.

Strengthening also helps stabilize the joint by not only working the glute minimus but also the other important muscles around the tear. The stronger the surrounding muscles get, the less pressure there is on the actual tear itself, allowing for more healing to occur.

Single leg bridge for glute minimus strengthening
Single leg bridge

Strengthening for a glute minimus tear typically occurs in 3 phases.

  • Phase 1: Muscle activation and early strengthening. This typically includes performing table or lying down to do the exercises. The goal of this phase is to get the muscle activated and early muscle firing to occur at low levels of resistance. This phase includes many of the exercises listed above.
  • Phase 2: Muscle Hypertrophy and Standing Exercises. In this phase, the exercises are more challenging and put more strain on the glute minimus to increase muscle growth and hypertrophy. This phase includes standing hip abduction, squats, step-ups, and initiation of single-leg strengthening.
  • Phase 3: Dynamic strength and power. The final phase of strengthening includes more dynamic and higher-intensity exercises to prevent the tear from returning in the future and to make a full recovery. This includes exercises such as split squats, lunges, single-leg squats, and even jumping in younger populations.


Although stretching is important for almost all rehab protocols, it has less overall importance for a glute minimus tear. We don’t want to pull too much or too often on the torn fibers. We want the torn fibers to come together and repair themselves. Stretching does help with muscle tightness in the surrounding area and also does help reduce pain levels.

Glute Stretch
Stretching for Glute Minimus Tear

You can perform many stretches for a glute minimus tear, which you can read in our other posts. Some of the most important ones include:

  • Figure 4 Stretch
  • Hip Flexor Stretching
  • Cross-body glute stretch

Dry needling for a Glute Minimus Tear

Dry needling is a new and exciting tool that can be effective in treating pain with muscle tears, especially in the later hip. This study shows that dry needling can be just as effective for glute pain as cortisone steroid injections.

In dry needling, a long thin filament needle is used to go deep into the muscle with the goal of decreasing tightness and pain by “resetting” the communication between the nerve and the muscle. This is commonly mistaken for acupuncture but is a much different procedure.

The bonus of dry needling for a glute minimus tear is that it can get down deep to treat the muscle. Due to the glute minimus’s location, it’s difficult to treat with hands because of the depth.

Dry needling is most commonly performed by physical therapists, but some other practitioners can get certified as well. It typically takes more than one treatment to be effective but does not take long to complete within a full therapy appointment.

Medications and Injections

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol, may be recommended to help reduce inflammation and manage pain related to gluteus minimus tears. Cortisone injections may also be considered for more severe pain that does not respond to oral medication. However, neither of these options with fix the actual tear.

In some cases, PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) injections may be utilized under ultrasound guidance to promote healing. However, PRP is still in its early phases of research and is not guaranteed to work.

Alternative Remedies

In addition to physical therapy and medication, some patients may benefit from incorporating alternative remedies into their treatment plans. These options may include:

  • Heat or ice therapy: Applying heat or cold packs can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Massage therapy can help promote circulation, decrease scar tissue, and improve muscle function around the affected area.
  • Acupuncture: Some individuals find acupuncture helpful for managing pain and promoting healing.

It is essential to discuss any alternative treatments with a healthcare provider to ensure they are appropriate and safe for the specific patient and injury. While non-surgical treatments may be effective in many cases, surgical intervention may be necessary for more severe gluteus minimus tears. An open procedure is commonly used to expose the tissues and comprehensively repair the tear. Careful adherence to post-operative precautions and rehabilitation is crucial for optimal recovery in such cases.

Surgery and Recovery

Surgical Procedures

In cases where a gluteus minimus tear requires surgery, a tendon repair might be performed. This procedure can be done using arthroscopic depending on the severity of the tear and the surgeon’s preferences. During surgery, the torn tendon is sutured and reattached to the bone, helping to stabilize the joint.

In some cases, a total hip replacement (THR) might be recommended if severe arthritis or other joint issues are present. This involves replacing the damaged hip joint with a prosthetic implant, which can help restore function and eliminate pain.

Post-Operative Care

After surgery, the patient will need to follow a specific recovery plan to ensure the best possible outcome. This may include:

  • Wearing a hip brace, sling, or other support to protect the healing tissues
  • Following post-operative rehabilitation guidelines
  • Engaging in physical therapy to help improve the range of motion, strength, and function of the hip joint
  • Gradually returning to normal activities, as advised by the healthcare provider

Full recovery from gluteus minimus tear surgery can vary depending on the type of procedure, individual patient factors, and adherence to post-operative care instructions. It is important for the patient to communicate with their healthcare provider and follow their recommendations to ensure a successful recovery.

Preventive Measures and Tips

Activity Modifications

To prevent a gluteal tendon tear, individuals should pay attention to their body and be aware of any signs of hip pain during physical activities. It is crucial to modify or take breaks from activities like running, which can irritate the hips, and avoid overuse injuries. Reducing repetitive activities that put pressure on the hips can help prevent glute minimus tears. For example, opting for an elevator instead of stairs when possible can alleviate excessive strain on the hips. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight can decrease pressure on these muscles.

Strengthening Exercises

Incorporating exercises that focus on strengthening the gluteus muscles is essential for injury prevention. A consistent, targeted exercise routine can improve muscle strength, balance, and overall mobility, reducing the risk of falls and glute minimus tears. The use of a foam roller can also help in reducing tension and inflammation in the hip area, specifically in the iliotibial (IT) band.

A few suggested strengthening exercises include:

  • Clamshells: Lying on one side with knees bent, keeping feet together while lifting the top knee, opening and closing like a clamshell.
  • Glute bridges: Lying on the back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, lifting the hips until the body makes a straight line from knees to shoulders.
  • Side-lying leg raises: Lying on one side with legs straight, lifting the top leg as high as comfortable, and returning to the starting position.
  • Lateral band walks: Place a resistance band around the ankles and walk sideways while maintaining tension in the band.

Remember, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine and to ensure proper technique and safety. By incorporating these preventive measures and tips, individuals can effectively minimize the risk of a glute minimus tear and maintain healthy hip function without the need for surgery.

When to Seek Professional Help

It is essential to seek professional help if you suspect a gluteus minimus tear or a gluteus medius tear. Early intervention can help prevent further complications and improve the recovery process. Here are some key factors to consider when seeking help:

  • The severity of symptoms: If you experience severe pain, swelling, or difficulty in moving the affected leg or hip, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional. This may indicate tendon or muscle damage that may need a more comprehensive treatment plan.
  • Inadequate response to self-care: If your pain and discomfort do not improve with rest, ice, and over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or Tylenol, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and possible imaging.
  • Lack of progress in rehabilitation: In some cases, conservative management may be unsuccessful in treating gluteus minimus and medius tears. If you do not observe any significant improvements despite following home exercises or recommended treatments, it might be time to involve a physical therapist. They can design a tailored rehabilitation program that addresses your specific needs.
  • Prolonged pain and discomfort: About half of the people with gluteal tendinopathy will recover without treatment, but symptom relief may take up to a year. If you have been experiencing hip pain for an extended period without any signs of improvement, seeking professional help can speed up the recovery process through targeted physical therapy exercises.

In summary, paying attention to your symptoms and seeking professional help when necessary is crucial. Early intervention can lead to a more effective treatment plan and a faster recovery from gluteus minimus or medius tears.


In conclusion, the vast majority of gluteus minimus tears do not require surgery. There are many treatment options available that can help you return back to your prior activities.

It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and then proceed through the conservative treatment options. Most people do quite well with physical therapy and, most noted, strengthening exercises to help the torn tendon.

Do you have a glute minimus tear? Let us know in the comments below how your recovery went and what seemed to be the most beneficial option for you.