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Gluteus minimus muscle

Recommended video: Gluteus minimus muscle (3D) [05:32]
Anatomy and functions of the gluteus minimus muscle shown with 3D model animation.
Gluteus minimus muscle (Musculus gluteus minimus)

The gluteus minimus is a small triangular muscle located deep in the posterior region of the hip, spanning from the gluteal surface of the ilium to the proximal end of the femur. It belongs to the group of gluteal muscles, along with the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and tensor fasciae latae.

Gluteus minimus acts in synergy with the gluteus medius to produce the movements on the hip joint; the internal rotation and abduction of the thigh. Moreover, this muscle is an important stabilizer of the pelvis in the gait cycle.

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the gluteus minimus muscle.

Key facts about the gluteus minimus muscle
Origin Gluteal surface of ilium (between anterior and inferior gluteal lines)
Insertion Anterior aspect of greater trochanter of femur
Action Hip joint: Thigh abduction, thigh internal rotation (anterior part); Pelvis stabilization
Innervation Superior gluteal nerve (L4-S1)
Blood supply Superior gluteal artery, trochanteric anastomosis
  1. Origin and insertion
  2. Relations
  3. Innervation
  4. Blood supply
  5. Functions
  6. Sources
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Origin and insertion

The gluteus minimus muscle originates from the gluteal surface of the ilium, between the anterior and inferior gluteal lines. The muscle fibers converge towards a narrow tendon that takes an anteroinferior course towards the femur. 

The tendon of the gluteus minimus muscle passes over the superior aspect of the greater trochanter of femur from which it is separated by the trochanteric bursa of gluteus minimus. Finally, the tendon inserts onto the anterolateral aspect of the greater trochanter. In some cases, a small portion of the muscle fibers may blend with the piriformis, superior gemellus muscles or with the vastus lateralis of the quadriceps femoris muscle.

If you're already feeling confident with the muscles of this region, why not test yourself by taking our quiz!


The gluteus minimus is the smallest and the deepest of all three gluteal muscles. Its deep surface is entirely related to the ilium, while superficially it is covered by the gluteus medius muscle. The branches of the superior gluteal artery and nerve course between these two muscles. 

The anterior margin of the muscle is related to the tensor fasciae latae, while the posterior one is related to the piriformis muscle. At the level of the insertion, the tendon of the gluteus minimus is located superficial to the reflected tendon of the rectus femoris and the capsule of the hip joint.


The gluteus minimus muscle is innervated by the superior gluteal nerve (L4-S1), a branch of the sacral plexus.

Neurovasculature can be tricky. So test yourself with our quiz for the whole region before going any further!

Blood supply

The blood supply to the gluteus minimus muscle comes from the deep branch of superior gluteal artery. The distal portion of the muscle and its tendon also receives the contribution from the trochanteric anastomosis; an arterial network formed by the ascending branch of the medial circumflex femoral artery and descending branches of the superior and inferior gluteal arteries.


The functions of the gluteus minimus muscle are closely related to those of gluteus medius, as these two muscles act in synergy on the hip joint.

When their pelvic attachments are fixed, both muscles pull the greater trochanter superiorly and abduct the thigh. However, if only their anterior portions contract, the axis of the movement tilts anteriorly and they produce internal rotation of the thigh. Activation of the posterior fibers only may result in slight external rotation of the femur. 

When the hip joint is in a flexed position, the capacity of the gluteus minimus to abduct is greatly reduced; instead, internal rotation is the primary function in this position.

When their femoral attachments are fixed, the muscles pull the ipsilateral ilium towards the femur, resulting in the slight ipsilateral pelvic tilt. This action is important in walking because the contralateral limb can easily be raised and moved forwards. Besides this, the strong tension within these muscles contributes to the stabilization of the pelvis and trunk while walking or standing.

Learn everything about the hip and thigh muscles with our video tutorials, quizzes, articles and labeled diagrams.

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