Lateral Hip Pain and Greater Trochanteric Syndrome

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.

You might feel:

    • 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

Possible Causes:

    • Structural changes to the glute medius/minimus tendon as well as the illiotibial band
    • Trauma, such as a fall onto the outside of the hip/leg

Things to try:

    • 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 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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