Acute Traumatic Tear of the Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus in a Marathon Runner

Ochsner J. 2019 Winter;19(4):405-409. doi: 10.31486/toj.18.0090.


Background: Tears of the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus are common causes of chronic lateral hip pain in the middle-aged population. These tears are postulated to occur after chronic degeneration of the muscle-tendon unit. The majority of these patients have a long history of peritrochanteric pain. Acute traumatic tear of the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus in otherwise asymptomatic patients is rare but can occur. Case Report: We report the case of a 78-year-old male marathon runner with acute traumatic tear of the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. After conservative management (physical therapy, a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug for pain, and cortico-steroid and local anesthetic injection) failed, the patient underwent operative repair. The surgery was successful, and the patient returned to his preinjury lifestyle 6 months postoperatively with no limitations. Conclusion: In most cases, chronic injuries are far more common than acute tears. Because of the nonspecific and slowly progressive symptoms, patients are often misdiagnosed with radiculopathy, osteoarthritis, or trochanteric bursitis. Patients typically present to the clinic with an insidious onset of dull pain over the lateral hip. This pain is often worse when lying on the affected side. Certain gluteal-focused movements, such as climbing stairs, may exacerbate the pain. To our knowledge, our report is only the third case of acute traumatic tear of the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus reported in the literature.

Keywords: Arthroscopy; buttocks; endoscopy; gluteus medius; gluteus minimus; sprains and strains.

Publication types

  • Case Reports