Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome: Causes, Symtoms & Treatment


How Can Physiotherapy Help?

Clinical presentation:

  • Pain in the region of the greater trochanter (hard bony surface on the outside of the hip below the ridge of the pelvis)
  • Previously referred to in literature as trochanteric bursitis alone, however, pathology presents in the glute medius and minimums tendons as well as the associated bursae.

Risk factors:

  • Age – all ages, commonly more prominent in the >40 years age category
  • High BMI and overweight
  • Genetics
  • Corticosteroids – tendon weakness
  • Sudden increase in loading (increased exercise levels)
  • Female sex hormones


  • Pinpoint tenderness over the side of the hip
  • Pain with weight bearing activities
  • Pain in side-lying at night

Diagnostic procedures:

  • Visible and confirmed by ultrasound and MRI

How to assess yourself:

  • Sitting in a chair, knees bent and feet on the floor, does it hurt to move your foot all the way out to the side away from you?
  • Does it hurt when you lie with your hips open?
  • Stand on one leg and look in the mirror from behind, does your hip on the opposite side look lower?
  • Does it hurt to touch the bony surface on the side of your hip?
  • If in doubt, consult a trained physiotherapist, they will be able to diagnose you within minutes.

Management of GTPS:

  • Cortisone injection (consult your doctor)
  • Anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen (always consult your doctor)
  • Hands on therapy such as soft tissue massag
  • Exercise including stretching, muscle activation and strengthening
  • Specific foam roller exercises
  • Activity modification
  • Addressing knee and ankle biomechanics such as flat feet, for example, new footwear to support arch
  • Heat and ice therapy

Key principles:

  • UNLOAD your hip and rest from aggravating activities
  • Learn as much as you can about the condition
  • Improve your sitting, standing, and sleeping posture
  • Reduce pain by consulting with a physiotherapist on specific isometric exercises for pain relief
  • Increase strength – especially glutes, quadriceps and calves
  • Consider what you would like to return to doing such as work, sport, exercise and get access to a return to work or return to sport plan consisting of dynamic exercise once pain has been managed to avoid the problem returning (highly common)

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