'Bald trochanter' spontaneous rupture of the conjoined tendons of the gluteus medius and minimus presenting as a trochanteric bursitis

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2004 Oct;83(10):806-9. doi: 10.1097/01.phm.0000140792.48248.49.


A 66-yr-old white woman presented with progressive complaints of right lateral hip and thigh pain associated with a disabling limp without an antecedent history of trauma. Physical examination revealed localized pain over the right greater trochanter to palpation. A full pain-free range of motion of the right hip was associated with weakness in the hip abductors. The patient ambulated with a compensated right Trendelenburg gait. Subsequent magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a trochanteric bursitis and an effusion of the hip and a full-thickness tear of the gluteus medius muscle, with both a disruption and retraction of the tendon of an atretic gluteus minimus muscle. Conjoined tendon pathology of both the gluteus medius and minimus as, revealed by magnetic resonance examination, is probably more frequent than heretofore commonly recognized. In patients presenting with "intractable" complaints of a trochanteric bursitis and an ambulatory limp due to weakness in the hip abductors, imaging studies calling attention to a possible tendon rupture may be diagnostic.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bursitis / complications
  • Bursitis / diagnosis*
  • Bursitis / rehabilitation
  • Canes
  • Female
  • Femur
  • Hip Joint*
  • Humans
  • Rupture, Spontaneous / diagnosis
  • Rupture, Spontaneous / rehabilitation
  • Tendon Injuries* / complications
  • Tendon Injuries* / diagnosis*
  • Tendon Injuries* / rehabilitation