Glute Medius is a critical muscle for healthy hip function.
It's a little bit of a jack-of-all-trades. Its primary role is to stabilize the hip joint, i.e. keep the femur stable in the hip socket.
Yet, it is also the prime mover in hip adbuction (leg out to the side); and it helps with hip flexion, and with hip extension (opposite of hip flexion).
Basically, it moves your leg forward, backward, and out to the side.
Glute Medius is able to accomplish all of these actions due to its width, position, and the direction of its fibers (see image).
Due to our habit of prolonged sitting, Glute Medius gets short and under-used. Over time, it weakens. And we end of with short (tight) and weak Glute Medius.
That's a recipe for disaster... or injury.
Weak and unstable Glutes cause poor posture, make you wobble, throw your back out, destabilize the sacrum, and a slew of other unpleasant outcomes.
What to Do to Fix Glute Medius
The main thing to do is to strengthen it.
The problem is ... we sit too much. For work, to eat, to drive, etc.
Therefore, we need to un-do the harmful effects of sitting on a regular basis.
1. Roll it on a baseball, or a ridged foam roller. Hold for 15-20 seconds over painful spots. Don't roll more than 10 minutes at a time.
2. Get a massage with a neuromuscular therapist, or another experienced soft-tissue therapist. Your therapist should be able to examine all the fibers of the Glute Medius (anterior, middle, and posterior), determine which fibers contain chronic tension and trigger points, and deactivate them.
3. Strengthen, strengthen, strengthen
Strengthening should start right away. Consult with a fitness professional. Google Glute Medius exercises - there are dozens of websites with videos on how to do it.
Here are some of my favorite exercises for Glute Medius: