Gluteus medius strengthening and the use of the Donatelli Drop Leg Test in the athlete

Phys Ther Sport. 2014 Feb;15(1):15-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2013.02.005. Epub 2013 Jun 14.


Objectives: To evaluate and strengthen the posterior segment of the gluteus medius.

Design: A technical description of a novel examination and rehabilitation protocol.

Setting: The gluteus medius, primarily a hip abductor, serves several important functions in the athlete. Weakness of the gluteus medius has been linked to injuries in the shoulder and iliotibial band, as well as ankle instability. Though previously treated as a homogenous muscle, recent studies of the gluteus medius show three segments with distinct function and activation - the anterior, middle, and posterior. Current rehabilitation protocol focuses primarily on the anterior and middle segments, neglecting the posterior.

Conclusion: We propose a three-stage protocol for strengthening and rehabilitation of the injured athlete and the Drop Leg Test, which can be used to identify weakness in the posterior segment of the gluteus medius.

Keywords: Athlete; Gluteus medius; Posterior segment; Rehabilitation.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Hip Joint / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Muscle Weakness / diagnosis*
  • Muscle Weakness / rehabilitation*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Rotation