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gluteus maximus muscle (anatomy)

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Gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body and forms the bulk of the buttock on each side. It arises from several contiguous sites:

  • external surface of ilium posterior to the posterior gluteal line
  • posterior third of iliac crest
  • lumbar fascia
  • lateral mass of the sacrum
  • sacrotuberous ligament

Passing inferolaterally, it inserts into two contiguous structures:

  • the majority of fibres insert into the iliotibial tract; this passes inferiorly to insert into the anterior surface of the lateral tibial condyle
  • a minority of fibres insert into the gluteal tuberosity on the posterior, superior third of the femur

Gluteus maximus is innervated by the inferior gluteal nerve (L5-S2).

Its actions are varied:

  • main extensor of the thigh at the hip
  • lateral rotation of thigh at the hip
  • facilitates knee extension via the iliotibial tract

It is associated with a number of bursae.