Trochanteric Pain Syndrome

Do you have pain on the outside of your hip?

Does it get worse when you:

  • Sit down for a while and then stand up
  • Walk up or down stairs
  • Stand for a long time
  • Get in and out of your car
  • Lay on the side that is painful

You may have Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS),[1] also commonly referred to as hip bursitis or gluteal tendinopathy. GTPS occurs when the tendons, muscles or bursae that lie over the greater trochanter at the top of your thigh bone become irritated.

The good news is that this common condition can be managed well by an expert musculoskeletal physio and here on the Northern Beaches, we see a lot of it.

What causes Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome?

The exact causes of GTPS are many and not always well understood. Because GTPS can affect many parts of your life, it is important for your physio to identify what factors are exacerbating your cycle of pain. Once your physio has done this, they can get stuck into providing short term pain relief, education around activity modifications and exercises you can do so that you can get back to doing activities you enjoy.

Lateral hip pain causes include:

  • A recent increase or change in your exercise routine and loading
  • Gluteal muscle weakness
  • Iliotibial band tightness
  • Tightness of adductor muscles
  • An imbalance of muscles in the greater trochanteric region

Who is most at risk of suffering from lateral hip pain?

If you are a female between 40 and 60, you are more at risk of developing GTPS. You may also be more likely to develop GTPS if you:

  • Have a previous/current history of back pain
  • Are overweight
  • Run more than 30km per week
  • Have knee arthritis

How can physiotherapy treat GTPS?

GTPS is often a vicious cycle of pain which causes patients to avoid many activities, leading to further muscle weakness around the hips and in turn, more pain.

Our Fixio physiotherapists are up to date with the latest evidence and base our management of GTPS on evidence based principles so we can make sure we are always giving parents the best care and advice.

At Fixio we may use different types of treatments to control and reduce your pain and swelling, including ice, heat, taping, exercises, massage and manual therapy.

Your Fixio physio will work with you to:

  • Reduce Pain and Swelling
  • Improve Motion
  • Improve Flexibility
  • Improve Balance
  • Learn a Home-Exercise Program

To help prevent a recurrence of GTPS, your physio may advise you to:

  • Follow a bespoke flexibility and strengthening exercise program
  • Always warm up before going for a run or playing sport
  • Gradually increase any physical activity, rather than suddenly increasing the amount or intensity
  • Learn and focus on maintaining correct posture

Is dry needling recommended for lateral hip pain?

Studies have actually shown that dry needling is at least as effective as a cortisone shot for the treatment of a number of injuries, Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS) included.

“Cortisone injections for GTPS did not provide greater pain relief or reduction in functional limitations than DN (dry needling). Our data suggest that DN is a non-inferior treatment alternative to cortisone injections in this patient population”.[2]

Is there anything I can I do now to reduce my hip pain?

  • Avoid sitting with your legs crossed
  • Avoid sleeping on the irritated side
  • Avoid bearing more weight on one leg than the other

If you are experiencing lateral hip pain, contact our team today. Call us or book online.



[1] Lin CY, Fredericson M. Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome: An Update on Diagnosis and Management. Curr Phys Med Rehabil Rep. 2015;3(1);60-66.

[2] Brennan KL, Allen BC, Maldonado YM. Dry Needling Versus Cortisone Injection in the Treatment of Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome: A Noninferiority Randomized Clinical Trial. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2017;47(4):232-239. doi:10.2519/jospt.2017.6994

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