Abductor tendon tears of the hip: evaluation and management

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2011 Jul;19(7):385-91. doi: 10.5435/00124635-201107000-00001.


The gluteus medius and minimus muscle-tendon complex is crucial for gait and stability in the hip joint. There are three clinical presentations of abductor tendon tears. Degenerative or traumatic tears of the hip abductor tendons, so-called rotator cuff tears of the hip, are seen in older patients with intractable lateral hip pain and weakness but without arthritis of the hip joint. The second type of tear may be relatively asymptomatic. It is often seen in patients undergoing arthroplasty for femoral neck fracture or elective total hip arthroplasty (THA) for osteoarthritis. The third type of abductor tendon dysfunction occurs with avulsion or failure of repair following THA performed through the anterolateral approach. Abductor tendon tear should be confirmed on MRI. When nonsurgical management is unsuccessful, open repair of the tendons with transosseous sutures is recommended. Good pain relief has been reported following endoscopic repair. Abductor tendon repair has had inconsistent results in persons with avulsion following THA. Reconstruction with a gluteus maximus muscle flap or Achilles tendon allograft has provided promising short-term results in small series.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hip Joint / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Rupture
  • Tendon Injuries / diagnosis
  • Tendon Injuries / surgery*
  • Tendons / pathology
  • Tendons / surgery*