Superior gluteal nerve

The superior gluteal nerve is a nerve that originates in the pelvis. It supplies the gluteus medius muscle, the gluteus minimus muscle, the tensor fasciae latae muscle, and the piriformis muscle.

Superior gluteal nerve
Nerves of the right lower extremity. Posterior view.
Plan of sacral and pudendal plexuses. (Superior gluteal labeled at upper left.)
Fromsacral plexus (L4-S1)
Innervatesgluteus medius, gluteus minimus, tensor fasciæ latæ
Latinnervus gluteus superior
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy


The superior gluteal nerve originates in the sacral plexus.[1] It arises from the posterior divisions of L4, L5 and S1.[1] It leaves the pelvis through the greater sciatic foramen above the piriformis muscle.[2][3] It is accompanied by the superior gluteal artery and the superior gluteal vein.[2] It then accompanies the upper branch of the deep division of the superior gluteal artery. It ends in the gluteus minimus muscle and tensor fasciae latae muscle.[1]


The superior nerve supplies:

The superior gluteal nerve also has a cutaneous branch.[1]

Clinical significanceEdit


In normal gait, the small gluteal muscles on the stance side can stabilize the pelvis in the coronal plane. Weakness or paralysis of these muscles caused by a damaged superior gluteal nerve can result in a weak abduction in the affected hip joint. This gait disturbance is known as Trendelenburg gait. In a positive Trendelenburg's sign the pelvis sags toward the normal unsupported side (the swing leg). The opposite, when the pelvis is elevated on the swing side, is known as Duchenne limp. Bilateral loss of the small gluteal muscles results in a waddling gait.[2]

Iatrogenic damageEdit

The superior gluteal nerve may be damaged by intramuscular injections and nephrectomy.[3]

See alsoEdit


  This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 959 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. ^ a b c d e f Mirjalili, S. Ali (2015-01-01), Tubbs, R. Shane; Rizk, Elias; Shoja, Mohammadali M.; Loukas, Marios (eds.), "Chapter 46 - Anatomy of the Sacral Plexus L4-S4", Nerves and Nerve Injuries, San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 619–626, doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-410390-0.00048-2, ISBN 978-0-12-410390-0, retrieved 2021-02-28
  2. ^ a b c Thieme Atlas of Anatomy (2006), p 476
  3. ^ a b David, William S.; Sadjadi, Reza (2019-01-01), Levin, Kerry H.; Chauvel, Patrick (eds.), "Chapter 13 - Clinical neurophysiology of lower extremity focal neuropathies", Handbook of Clinical Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology: Diseases and Disorders, Elsevier, 161: 207–216, doi:10.1016/b978-0-444-64142-7.00050-3, PMID 31307602, retrieved 2021-02-28
  4. ^ Platzer (2004), p 420
  5. ^ Iwanaga J; Eid S; Simonds E; Schumacher M; Loukas M; Tubbs RS (2019). "The Majority of Piriformis Muscles are Innervated by the Superior Gluteal Nerve". Clinical Anatomy. 32 (2): 282–286. doi:10.1002/ca.23311. PMID 30408241. S2CID 53238082.


  • Platzer, Werner (2004). Color Atlas of Human Anatomy, Vol. 1: Locomotor System (5th ed.). Thieme. ISBN 3-13-533305-1.
  • Thieme Atlas of Anatomy: General Anatomy and Musculoskeletal System. Thieme. 2006. ISBN 1-58890-419-9.

External linksEdit