The vital glutes.

Where you think pain is, the problem is not.

We take walking for granted-it is something that we just do without understanding what exactly is going on-until we suffer from pain somewhere in our body, and then simple action of walking becomes very painful.

The pain is merely a symptom of underlying dysfunction and is often secondary to the real problem.

Let's focus on the Gluteus and how this muscles could be responsible for many of the complaints that patients and athletes present with, especially painful symptoms in area of the lower back and knees.

Function of the Gmax

From a functional perspective, the Gmax performs several key roles in controlling the relationship between pelvis, trunk, and femur.

  • This muscle is capable of abducting and laterally rotating the hip, which helps to control the alignment of the knee with the lower limb. When the Gmax is weak or misfiring, the knee can be seen to devote medially and the pelvis can be observed to tip laterally.

  • The Gmax has role in stabilising the sacroiliac joint. Misfiring or weakness in the Gmax reduces the effectiveness of the posterior oblique which will predispose the sacroiliac joint to subsequent injury.

  • Gmax plays a significant role in the gait cycle, working in conjunction with the hamstrings. Weakness or misfiring in Gmax will case the hamstrings to remain active during the gait cycle in order to maintain stability of the sacroiliac joint and the position of the pelvis.

Function of the Gluteus medius (Gmed)

The Gmed is responsible for maintaining the position of the pelvis as we walk from A to B. Many athletes present with overuse running types of injury to the lower limb and trunk, and the majority of them present with poor Gmed function. Weakness or misfiring of the gluteus will case the knee or ankle pain.

Think of yourself as a car with six cylinders in your engine: basically that is what your body. ​

For example, the engine in a car will not fire its individual cylinders in the numerical order 1-2-3-4-5-6; it will fire in a pre-defined optimum sequence, say 1-3-5-6-4-2. The engine will still work but not very efficiently, it will eventually break down. Our bodies are no different: in our case, if we are particularly active but have a misfiring dysfunction, our bodies will also break down, ultimately causing pain.

If weakness or misfiring in the gluteus is not corrected, our body will start to break down and a compensatory pattern of dysfunction will be created. Iliopsoas, piriformis and TFL will be dominant muscles.

This can cause excessive anterior tilting of the pelvis with a resultant hyperlordosis and uneven hips which can lead to inflammation of the hip, knee or lower lumbar facet joints.

To correct the misfiring sequence, we need to look on muscle length and normalise shortened and tight tissues.

Strong glutes will know exactly when to switch on to hold the pelvis perfectly level, when to act as shock absorbers, when to abduct and extend the hip, when to fire correctly to keep the trunk, hips and legs all in correct alignment and when to contract to propel us forward.

All information from the book "The vital glutes"- NeilASher.