The Gluteus Medius & Minimus muscles are bilateral muscles in your gluteal/hip region. They act primarily to move your leg, by adducting (moving your leg away from your body) and assisting with internal and external rotation.
These muscles are also stabilisers, meaning one side works to create stability in the hip whilst the other side is moving. When trigger points form in these muscles it can be very painful!
As a common site of very painful and active trigger points that can often create psuedo lumbar/sacral pain. It is a muscle that is difficult to stretch and due to its location may not be treated effectively within a massage.
The “X” marks the site of trigger points and the bright red areas mark the referral pattern of active trigger points.
Tips for Relieving painful trigger points
Regular self care in this area will not only help your hips move better, but it will assist with freeing up your lower back as well as helping out your hip flexors!
Foam Rolling: You can use a smooth or a studded foam roller. Start in a sidelined position and really focus on your hip and glute area.
Any point that is much sorer or creates a referral pattern similar to the pictures above then hold it until it subsides. If you position your body a little forward, it will be a great way to also work your TFL (commonly referred to as a hip flexor).
You can also carry on down your leg to roll your ITB and lateral portion of your quadriceps.
If you do not have a foam roller or access to one, get your hands on a tennis ball or firm Massage ball. Through the glutes and hips a tennis ball can often be more effective than a foam roller.
It can also be much easier to get into a rhythm of rolling with a tennis ball because you can adapt it to lean against a wall rather than on the floor.
Rolling with a foam roller, or a massage ball is best done in short regular bursts (ie once per day for a few mins rather than once per week for 1 hr).
If you are still experiencing pain with regular self care there is much that an experienced practitioner can do to assist. Massage offers the precision and specificity of muscular release that a massage ball does not.