How to Treat Lateral Hip Pain

Often referred to as trochanteric bursitis, lateral hip pain appears to have a variety of possible pain generating mechanisms. Tendon issues from the glute medius and minimus, and illiotibial band issues can all produce symptoms along the outside of the hip. Changes in your hip can sometimes impact your low back, knees, ankles, and feet. However, just because you may have some breakdown of the joint surface, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will have any pain or limitation associated with it.

Symptoms associated with lateral hip pain may include:

    • Pain often noted along the outside of the leg
    • Painful weakness to the lateral hip muscles
    • Pain with weight bearing activities such as running, stairs, or prolonged standing
    • Pain with laying on the involved hip
    • Not very likely to have limitations in hip range of motion into flexion or internal rotation

Lateral hip pain may be caused by structural changes to glute medius/minimus tendon as well as the illiotibial band. It may also arise as a result of trauma such as experiencing a fall on the outside of the hip/leg.

How to Treat Lateral Hip Pain:

    • Specific exercises to increase hip strength primarily of the outer muscles and the buttocks
    • Manual therapy to address hip joint stiffness and possible lumbar spine stiffness
    • Core strengthening or specific midline exercises to address weakness and hip/pelvis stabilization
    • Stretching the piriformis muscle
    • Progression of movements is quality based. As you demonstrate greater competency and capacity to do the movements they need to be progressively more challenging

Every individual and every episode of lateral hip pain is very unique. The treatment suggestions listed above include several options to try and see how they may improve your situation. In addition, a thorough evaluation by a physical therapist can help identify specific features about your condition and how to best manage them. Understanding as much as possible about your current condition is a very important aspect of the recovery process and will empower you to take the necessary steps to get back to your normal activities with as little discomfort as possible.

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