Relieving the Pain: How Physiotherapy Can Help Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome

greater trochanteric pain syndrome

If you have pain in the side of your hip when walking, climbing stairs, sitting or lying in bed, you may have greater trochanteric pain syndrome.

GTPS is an umbrella term which describes any pain in the side of the hip. It includes the following: 

  • Gluteal tendinopathies: An injury to the tendon which anchors the gluteal muscles to the thigh bone (The greater trochanter is simply the anatomical name for the bony prominence at the side of the hip).
  • Trochanteric bursitis: Inflammation of the fluid-filled sack which sits between (and reduces friction between) the gluteal tendon and the bone. 

What Causes Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome?

The hip withstands loads up to 8 times body weight during walking and jogging. Structures in and around the hip such as the tendon and bursa are prone to degeneration due to constant mechanical load. Over time (with aging, but also due to injury) this can result in pain in the side of your hip with day-to-day activities such as walking, climbing stairs, sitting or lying in bed. Women are more prone to GTPS due to the shape of the female pelvis and hormonal composition.

What Are the Symptoms of Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome?

Pain in the side of the hip or buttock with or without radiation down the leg. This is usually worse after physical activity or with sustained compression (such as lying on your side or sitting). 

How is Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome Diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist will do a full assessment to confirm a diagnosis of greater trochanteric pain syndrome and rule out anything more sinister. Often, touching the side of the hip will be very painful and there will be a loss of glute strength. A GP may have ordered imaging such as an x-ray or ultrasound and this may show the trochanteric bursa to be inflamed. 

Physiotherapy for Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome

Your GP may recommend you get a cortisone injection into the bursa. There are pros and cons to this but it can help to temporarily settle your pain. However, if you do not also complete physiotherapy-directed exercise to strengthen the tendon and surrounding muscles, your pain will likely return when the cortisone wears off. 

Do You Have These Symptoms?

If you think you may have greater trochanteric pain syndrome, consult one of our physios ASAP. The sooner it is addressed, the sooner you will be on track with the right management.

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