Hip Abductor Dysfunction

One of the key pelvic stabilising muscle groups are the hip abductors (gluteus medius and minimus). The muscles originate from the outer pelvic bone and insert onto the upper part of the femur

Hip Abductor Dysfunction

The pelvis tilts abnormally when these muscles do not work properly. the picture below shows what should happen when standing on one leg (Figure A), and what happens when the muscles aren’t working properly (Figure B). As you can see, in Figure B, the whole of the opposite side tilts downwards if the muscles are not working properly. This leads to a limp and pain felt on the outside of the joint.

Hip Abductor Dysfunction Visualisation of what is happening with Hip Abductor Dysfunction

Hip abductor muscle problems can range from a tendonitis, to a partial tear, to a complete detachment of the muscle.


Symptoms of Hip Abductor Dysfunction include pain around the outside of the hip (gluteal, upper thigh area) and a limp. Diagnosis is made via accurate clinical examination as well as ultrasound scanning and MRI.


Treatment initially is physiotherapy to build up the strength and endurance of the abductor muscles. Frequently, an injection is used to improve pain so that rehabilitation can commence. If this fails, surgical treatment may be necessary. Surgical Treatment consists of either repair of the muscles or reconstruction in the case of a complete detachment.

You can read more about surgical treatment on our Abductor Repair or Reconstruction  page.

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