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The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

How Does My Butt Affect My Knee?

So, how do our glutes affect our knees?

First, some quick info on the relationship between the gluteal muscles and the knees.

The glutes are comprised of the gluteal maximus, medius and minimus, in order of size.
The glute min and med are primarily used for abducting the hip, or for moving the leg out to the side.
The glute max – the largest of the three, is mainly for extending and outwardly rotating the leg behind you.

The glutes being very central in the body, have huge implications both up and down the chain.
For example, they are commonly involved in cases of back pain as well as in issues further down the body as far as the feet.

When the glutes have a reduced motor output (in other words – when they’re weak) they can affect the knee.

Weak glutes can cause the opposite side of the pelvis to drop, known as a trendelenberg gait  and this can cause the femur to rotate inwards on the tibia (the two main bones comprising the knee joint).
If this happens it puts excessive stress on the knee joint and also on the patella.
This then leads to irritation and potentially patellofemoral pain syndrome.

Iliotibial band syndrome is another condition where the glutes may be involved.

The IT band is a very large band of connective tissue that runs along the outside of the leg from the hip to the knee.
A weak glute medius and minimus, in particular, that struggles to support a leg when transitioning to the other leg during walking can result in excessive stress being put on the IT band as it tries to compensate.
As its contractile properties are poorer than a muscle’s, this extra load can be absorbed at the outside of the knee where the IT band inserts – ultimately causing lateral knee pain.
When a muscle group is weak there will always be compensations and the glutes are no exception. Above are just some brief examples of how they can affect the knee.

If you feel you may have glutes that need some work, head over to the exercise video section of the Resource group where you will find some exercises designed to help strengthen your glutes or you can always pop us a message.

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