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Lenox MA 01240
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Quote: “In order to be wealthy, you must be healthy”

Is your weak butt muscle(s) causing you knee pain?


         Weakness of the hip abductors and hip external rotators (outside upper thigh muscles and side butt muscles) can be a contributing factoring for knee pain.  These outside thigh and butt muscles (glute medius, glute minimis and tensor fascia latae-TFL) can stress the knee during single leg support i.e. walking or running by allowing the pelvis and trunk to drop toward the side of the swinging/walking leg.  One main function of the butt muscle (gluteus medius) is to stabilize the pelvis region during single leg stance/use.  Past injuries can contribute to this also such as ankle sprains or knee surgeries/problems by allowing the weakness of the butt muscles (hip abductors and hip external rotators) to compensate during normal gait actions.  This can be contributors to an unbalanced hip complex from a front tilted (anterior tilted) pelvis.  This can also lengthen and cause weakness to the side of the butt muscle(s) (glute medius, glute minimis) and the (TFL). 

          An over activeness of these butt muscles, esp. the TFL can cause knee pain from the outside of the knee cap (lateral patella).  This can cause and increase an internal rotation of the thigh bone (femur) and stress the knee.  If the butt muscles are weak they will be unable to control the leg caving in towards the other leg (adduction) during walking.  This can stress/strain the knee during normal stance or walking/running.  Weakness of the butt muscle/s can cause knock knee (genu valgum) this will cause knee pain from excessive degeneration of the cartilage of the patella. (Neumann 462). 

          Another contributor could be tightness of the psoas muscle, a muscle that inserts at the top of the femur and wraps around the hip to the spine.  Tightness in this muscle can create sacroiliac joint dysfunction (top part of the hip connection) which can cause the butt muscles to compensate and create knee pain.  Some exercises that help strengthen these butt muscles are: single leg squats, tube walking, balance disks lunges and balance board squats plus many more. 

          Does this mean that all knee pain is a contributor from weakness in the butt musculature?  Absolutely not, but it is a place to examine and assess to see if the previous mentioned weaknesses or tightness do exist.


JD Reber

MS & BS Exercise Science and Health promotion, 



Neumann, D. Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System. Missouri: Mosby  2002.   

National Academy of Sports Medicine Module 6 & 7 PRF720



Remember, eat healthy and live wealthy!

Personal training in Lenox, MA