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Lateral hip pain

What is lateral hip pain?

Also known as “Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome”

Patients with greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS) usually complain of pain at the side of the hip radiating down the side of the thigh and sometimes below the knee.

Greater trochanteric pain syndrome – (GTPS) is a common clinical syndrome that used to be called trochanteric bursitis.

  • It is more common in females
  • More common in 40-60 year old patients
  • Occurs in 10-25% of the population
  • Occurs in 35% of patients with low back pain

What causes the pain?

Research shows us that GTPS is caused by wear and tear in the tendons of the muscles around your hip as they insert on to the bone.

It used to be thought that the pain was caused by the sacs of fluid filled bursa around the tendons.

But research shows us that it is most likely to be the tendons themselves that cause the pain.

“Why did this happen to me?”

There are lots of reasons why this may have happened.

But commonly this is down to the muscles’ inability to cope with the demands of daily life that are placed on them.

You may have “asked” the muscles to do too much and they are not strong enough to cope with that demand.

The tendons are repeatedly compressed by the positions we adopt during daily life causing micro trauma to the tendon over time.

What happens next?

This overload or compression to the tendon irritates the tendon, causing the muscle to become stiffer / tighter and tender to touch. This can often refer pain down the leg.

The muscle becomes weaker as we use it less because it hurts, and so the cycle continues.

Treatment normally involves a graded strengthening program to help alleviate symptoms.

Videos and Leaflets


How to manage lateral hip video

When to seek advice

If you have severe pain affecting your sleep and daily activities, if you have had a serious injury or you have symptoms that have not improved with self-management, you should contact your GP practice. If you have a red, hot swollen joint please ring 111