Anatomy & Organs

Buttock muscles – structure, function & diseases


The glutes include a variety of muscles with different roles. It enables people to perform certain movements. The muscles already play an important role in everyday life. At the same time, certain diseases of the gluteal muscles can be responsible for discomfort.

What are glutes?

The glutes consist primarily of the gluteus maximus, gluteus maximus, and gluteus minor. Functionally, it is part of the hip muscles. The different muscles have different tasks and functions. The cooperation of the different muscles is particularly important for perfect function.

The gluteus maximus is also the largest muscle in the human body. In addition, it is one of the strongest and covers the middle and small gluteus muscles. The gluteus maximus is part of the skeletal muscles. This is characterized by different factors. The fact that it is a voluntary muscle is particularly important.

Voluntary muscles are characterized by the fact that they can be moved consciously and their movement processes are not subject to unconscious mechanisms, as is the case with the heart muscle , for example . The gluteal muscles not only take on important tasks in everyday life. It can also be trained with certain exercises. The individual muscles must be addressed in different ways during the sport.

Anatomy & Structure

The gluteus maximus engages almost the entire surface of the buttocks. The muscle structure consists of units that are getting smaller and smaller. First, the muscle is surrounded by a membrane. A large number of muscle fibers are bundled together to form the actual muscle. The muscle fibers differentiate into phasic and tonic subtypes.They are formed by muscle fibrils, which in turn are made up of sarcomeres. Proteins are stored in these , which the body needs to be able to move the muscle. There are four different proteins: actin, myosin, tropomyosin and troponin. The muscles have a specific structure. Once examined using certain instruments, a pattern reminiscent of horizontal stripes emerges. That is why the musculature is also called striated.

The structure of the gluteal muscles thus follows the encapsis principle:

The gluteus maximus ( musculus gluteus maximus ) consists of a superficial and a deep part. While the deep part of the ala of the ilia arises, the upper part is broadly fanned out. This comes from the sacrum , coccyx , lumbar region and iliac spine. The gluteus medius muscle ( musculus gluteus medius ) is almost completely covered by the gluteus maximus. It sits on the ilium and runs towards the femur . The small buttock muscle ( musculus gluteus minimus) in turn is located under the middle one and is covered by it. It forms the back layer of the rear hip muscles. Here, too, the origin of the muscle is at the ilium. It runs transversely and also inclines towards the femur.

Function & Tasks

The different gluteal muscles also have differentiated tasks. Other functions also arise from their interaction. For example, it is only through the existence of the gluteal muscles that people are able to sit. In addition, the individual elements enable movements such as getting up, lying down or climbing stairs.

These can only take place when the parts work together properly. As soon as the function of one of the three muscles is disturbed, this can also affect the others. The symptoms that occur depend to a large extent on the muscle directly affected. The gluteus maximus is responsible for stabilizing the pelvis . It also plays an important role in walking upright.

The main factor here is the stretching of the hip joint . In addition, the gluteus maximus allows people to be able to pull or spread their legs towards the body. The pelvis is prevented from tipping over, which is useful when climbing stairs, for example.

The gluteus medius is responsible for stabilizing the pelvis during running. In doing so, it works together with the small buttock muscle. In addition, internal and external rotation of the thighs can take place through the gluteus maximus . Like the gluteus minor, the medius muscle helps with flexion and extension in certain positions. The function of the small and middle gluteus muscle is very similar. All three muscles play an important role in all movements in everyday life.

Diseases & Ailments

There are a variety of conditions that can affect the gluteal muscles. These include, for example, paralysis . As soon as one of the three muscles becomes paralyzed, movement is severely limited. It is often no longer possible for those affected to bend and stretch their thighs adequately. This results in discomfort when sitting, getting up, walking, standing and climbing stairs.If the middle and small buttock muscles are paralyzed at the same time, it cannot be ruled out that the pelvis tilts to the free leg side, which results in the so-called waddling gait. In addition, other diseases can affect the muscles. There are different forms of inflammation . These are mostly caused by bacteria, but viruses and other pathogens are also potentially possible.

In most cases, the pathogens get into the muscle through another infection in the body and trigger further inflammation there. This can sometimes become chronic. Hardening is also possible with constant muscle tension.

As soon as the muscle is permanently tensed but not relaxed, the blood vessels responsible for the blood supply to the muscle are pinched off. This results in inflammation, to which the body reacts with increased tension . The hardening can be felt in many cases and trigger severe pain .

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.