Gluteus minimus muscle
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.
|Gluteal surface of ilium (between anterior and inferior gluteal lines)
|Anterior aspect of greater trochanter of femur
|Hip joint: Thigh abduction, thigh internal rotation (anterior part); Pelvis stabilization
|Superior gluteal nerve (L4-S1)
|Superior gluteal artery, trochanteric anastomosis
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.
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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.
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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 the internal rotation of the thigh.
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.
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