Lateral Hip Pain

Lateral hip pain is also often historically called trochanteric bursitis, where the pain was thought to be due to an “inflamed bursa (fluid filled sack) on the outside of the hip. We now know this is a very uncommon cause of the pain and it is far more common that pain comes from muscles and tendons on the outside of the hip.  

The main symptom experienced is pain over the outside of your upper thigh. Lying on the affected side in bed is often the most aggravating cause of pain but simple walking may be uncomfortable at times. Commonly the condition goes away on its own over time however, Anti-inflammatory painkillers, strengthening exercises and on occasions steroid injections may sometimes be required. 

What is the treatment of greater trochanteric pain syndrome?

Lateral hip pain is usually self-limiting. It usually goes away on its own in time. However, it commonly takes several weeks for the pain to ease. Symptoms can persist for months, and sometimes longer in a small proportion of cases. However, persistence does not mean that there is a serious underlying condition or that the hip joint is being damaged. 

Decreasing activity such as running or excessive walking for a while may help to speed recovery. In addition, the following may be useful: 

  • Applying an ice pack (wrapped in a towel) for 10-20 minutes several times a day may improve your symptoms. 
  • Taking paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen may help to reduce the pain. Discuss analgesia with a pharmacist or your GP. 
  • Losing weight. If you are overweight or obese then losing some weight is likely to improve your symptoms. 
  • Physiotherapy. The key to reduce your pain and prevent it recurring is to strengthen the muscles and tendons over the outside of the hip and muscles that control the movements of your pelvis. Exercises such as Yoga and Pilates is excellent for this, alongside some specific exercises to start at home. Lateral hip exercises attachment  Cllick here to view exercises.
  • Injection of steroid and local anaesthetic. If the above measures do not help then an injection into the painful area may be beneficial but unless the area is also strengthened it is much more likely to recur. 

Please note -
These are general exercises, seek advice if you are unsure.

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