Lateral Hip Pain

20th November 2023


“I have been doing plenty of running recently and have developed pain over the outside of my hip joint. I had an X-Ray of my hip but it came back clear. What do you think?”

Lateral hip pain (Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome) is a common presentation due to injury to the gluteus medius and/or minimus tendons where they attach to the outside of the hip. Historically, it has been referred to as 'bursitis'. It effects women more than men.


Why does it happen?

Mainly due to unaccustomed/unusual physical activity or poor postural habits. These can include:

  • Starting a new exercise program involving strenuous walking or running
  • Increasing running distance, or running frequency
  • Poor postural habits such as favouring one-leg in standing eg. carrying/hold children on the hips of long periods of time


Most Common Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain over the outside of the hip
  • Referred pain down the outside of the thigh to the knee
  • Pain with lying/sleeping on the affected side (and in more severe cases, sleeping on the unaffected side)


Aggravated with:

  • Walking, particularly uphill or upstairs
  • Sitting cross legged or in low chairs


Physiotherapy management:

The initial goal of treatment is to settle acute symptoms. Your Physiotherapist may use a variety of tools to achieve this outcome such as massage and dry needling, as well as educating you about appropriate exercise loads.

Once the symptoms have settled, the most important aspect of treatment is a series of exercises designed to progressively strengthen your gluteal, pelvic and trunk muscles. This will stimulate tendon healing. Loading the tendon (exercising it) is the only intervention shown to change the structure of an injured tendon to a more healed state. Injections do not actually achieve this. 

Correction of any biomechanical faults in your walking or running technique such as excessive movement or twisting at your pelvis, hips or knees is also important to speed up your recovery and prevent reoccurrence.


How long will it take to recover?

This will vary depending on the severity and duration of the injury. With that said, the average recovery time is 2-3 months.