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Understanding Your Gluteals and How To Preserve Hips and Knees

I often have people tell me how they have always walked a certain way and it was never an issue before. I know I talk a lot about the core and work on strengthening it often. I once said that I have been really focusing on the core this week with clients and the response was “when don’t you!”

Your core is at your center of gravity and every movement you do is based on the use of the core. When you don’t use it, you lose stability and control of your movement. Then you begin to substitute other muscles and they become overused and the next thing you know you are beginning to have pain somewhere.

Many a knee injury has been because the pelvis is not aligned and the core not engaged that puts stress on the knees. Unless you have had a direct trauma to the knee, it is very rare for it to be a “knee issue”.

The same goes for the hips. The thigh bone (femur) attaches into the pelvis, forming your hip. Its proper alignment in the socket in the pelvis is what assists the appropriate musculature to be activated. This also means you need to perform the activity correctly to recruit these muscles.

If you look at the above diagram, you can see the bone going vertically down from the pelvis. This diagram is looking at the back side of the pelvis. The obturator internus muscle is going from the bottom of the pelvis (on the left side of the diagram) over to the femur. You will see the head of the femur there inserted into the pelvis.

The other muscles in the picture are your gluteals, There are 3 of them: maximus, medius, and minimus. You can see them on both sides of the diagram and how they go from the pelvis to the femur. (The bone in the middle with the 4 “holes” is your sacrum.)

So now you can see how the gluteals, 1 of the core muscles, is so important in stabilizing the pelvis/sacrum/low back and the hip down to the knee. (The bottom of the femur ends at your knee.)

When someone tells me that their non-weightbearing leg or the thigh muscles (quadriceps) are burning or feeling strained, I know they have overused those muscles instead of engaging the gluteals.

The activity becomes so much easier, for instance a squat, when the buttocks are engaged and the stress is taken off the leg muscles. Once it is done correctly, I have heard people tell me they don’t have pain or creaking in their knees.

Even with something as “simple” as walking, if you don’t extend the hip back in your stride, you will not fire the gluteals, which propel you forward. Instead you will use the front of the pelvis, the iliopsoas muscle, to bring the leg forward, which causes increased bending at the hip and can create a tendonitis. And that is for another blog.

Hopefully this information helps you to understand a bit clearer about the core and why it is so important. The images help you to visualize this.

Are you having any unresolved knee or hip issues? Tired of not knowing what to do about it? Click here to schedule a Free 20 minute Discovery call to discuss how we can begin your journey to a painfree life where you can return to the activities you love or at least sit, walk, and sleep without pain.

To Your Health,


Cynthia Weiss

We Help Women To Increase Their Confidence In Achieving Their Goals Of Having An Independent & Mobile Lifestyle Without The Use Of Pain Medications Or Surgery.