Prevalence and pattern of gluteus medius and minimus tendon pathology and muscle atrophy in older individuals using MRI



To evaluate gluteus medius and minimus tendon pathology and muscle atrophy in older individuals using MRI.


A retrospective MRI study of 185 individuals was performed. The inclusion criterion was age ≥50. Exclusion criteria were hip surgery, fracture, infection, tumor, or inadequate image quality. Greater trochanteric bursitis was graded none, mild, moderate, or severe. Gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and iliopsoas tendinopathy was graded normal, tendinosis, low-grade partial tear, high-grade partial tear, or full thickness tear. Gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, tensor fascia lata, and iliopsoas muscle atrophy was scored using a standard scale. Insertion site of tendinopathy and location of muscle atrophy were assessed. Descriptive and statistical analysis was performed.


There was increasing greater trochanteric bursitis and gluteus medius and minimus tendinopathy and atrophy with advancing age with moderate to strong positive associations (p < 0.0001) for age and tendinopathy, age and atrophy, bursitis and tendinopathy, and tendinopathy and atrophy for the gluteus medius and minimus. There is a weak positive association (p < 0.0001) for age and tensor fascia lata atrophy, and no statistically significant association between age and tendinopathy or between age and atrophy for the iliopsoas. Fisher's exact tests were statistically significant (p < 0.0001) for insertion site of tendon pathology and location of muscle atrophy for the gluteus medius.


Gluteus medius and minimus tendon pathology and muscle atrophy increase with advancing age with progression of tendinosis to low-grade tendon tears to high-grade tendon tears. There is an associated progression in atrophy of these muscles, which may be important in fall-related hip fractures.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Andrew S. Chi.

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Chi, A.S., Long, S.S., Zoga, A.C. et al. Prevalence and pattern of gluteus medius and minimus tendon pathology and muscle atrophy in older individuals using MRI. Skeletal Radiol 44, 1727–1733 (2015).

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  • Gluteus medius
  • Gluteus minimus
  • Atrophy
  • Tendinopathy
  • Tendon tear
  • MRI