Running Related Gluteus Medius Function in Health and Injury: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis

J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2016 Oct;30:98-110. doi: 10.1016/j.jelekin.2016.06.005. Epub 2016 Jun 17.


Running is a popular sport and recreational physical activity worldwide. Musculoskeletal injuries in runners are common and may be attributed to the inability to control pelvic equilibrium in the coronal plane. This lack of pelvic control in the frontal plane can stem from dysfunction of the gluteus medius. The aim of this systematic review was therefore to: (i) compile evidence of the activity profile of gluteus medius when running; (ii) identify how gluteus medius activity (electromyography) varies with speed, cadence and gender when running; (iii) compare gluteus medius activity in injured runners to matched controls. Seven electronic databases were searched from their earliest date until March 2015. Thirteen studies met our eligibility criteria. The activity profile was mono-phasic with a peak during initial loading (four studies). Gluteus medius amplitude increases with running speed; this is most evident in females. The muscles' activity has been recorded in injured runners with Achilles tendinopathy (two studies) and patellofemoral pain syndrome (three studies). The strongest evidence indicates a moderate and significant reduction in gluteus medius duration of activity when running in people with patellofemoral pain syndrome. This dysfunction can potentially be mediated with running retraining strategies.

Keywords: Achilles tendinopathy; Buttocks; Electromyography; Patellofemoral pain syndrome; Running.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Pelvis / injuries
  • Pelvis / physiology
  • Running / injuries*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Thigh / injuries
  • Thigh / physiology