Greater trochanter pain syndrome (GTPS) is a common cause of pain in your outer thigh. It refers to a group of conditions that cause pain near the top of your femur.
Keep reading to learn more about this common hip condition, including symptoms, causes, and treatment options.
The primary symptoms of GTPS are:
- hip pain over your outer thigh that gets worse with:
- prolonged sitting
- climbing stairs
- High intensity activity
- lying on the affected hip
- trouble walking
- hip stiffness
- swelling or warmth around your hip
- clicking when you move your hip
GTPS refers to a group of conditions that cause pain around the same area. The underlying cause of pain may be due to:
- injury to your gluteal tendons
- inflammation of the bursae in your hip (bursitis)
- external coxa saltans (snapping hip syndrome)
GTPS may develop from:
- repetitive activity that causes friction between your femur and IT band
- performing exercise at too high an intensity or volume (for example, running too many weekly miles for runners)
- sedentary lifestyle
- high body fat percentage
- having one leg longer than the other
Here’s a look at where GTPS develops in your hip.
GTPS can lead to chronic pain that may interfere with your ability to work or exercise. If left untreated, an inflamed bursa may permanently enlarge.
Chronic hip pain may lead to a change in your biomechanics that may make you more prone to other injuries.
It’s a good idea to contact a doctor or another healthcare professional like a physiotherapist if your symptoms do not improve after about 2 weeks. It’s important to get immediate medical attention if you have signs of a fracture or other serious condition like:
- intense pain
- inability to place weight on your affected leg
- inability to move your hip
- noticeable deformity in your hip
- sudden and intense swelling
GTPS is primarily diagnosed clinically, meaning a doctor will:
- consider your symptoms
- perform a physical exam
- consider your personal medical history
A doctor or physiotherapist may have you stand on one leg. Pain within
They may order X-rays of your pelvis to rule out a fracture or bony abnormality. In some cases, they may order magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or an ultrasound to examine the soft tissue in your hip.
Read about GTPS treatment options in more depth here.
First-line treatment for GTPS usually involves some combination of:
- avoiding painful activities or reducing exercise volume
- physical therapy
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen
- weight loss if you’re overweight or have obesity
- changing your sleeping position
- exercise focused on strengthening your hips, legs, and core
- applying heat and ice to your hip
If first-line therapies are not effective, your doctor may recommend
- corticosteroid injections
- shockwave therapy
- platelet-rich plasma injections
Surgery is usually only recommended if other treatments are not effective. The type of surgery you need depends on the underlying cause of your pain. It might involve repairing damaged tendons or removing an inflamed bursa.
Exercise plays an important role in GTPS recovery. It can help you strengthen weakened muscles and stretch tight muscles that may help take the stress off your hip. Many people benefit from working with a physiotherapist who can build a custom plan.
Other ways you may be able to decrease your injury risk include:
- avoiding painful activities
- taking steps to reduce your risk of falls
- avoiding sleeping on your injured hip
Exercise programs for GTPS often focus on:
strengthening your quadriceps
- stretching your IT band
- strengthening the muscles on the outer part of your hip
In a 2022 study, researchers used the following exercises at the beginning of their exercise protocol for a group of 16 women with GTPS between the ages of 46 and 60:
- glute bridge: 10 reps
- static abduction (lie on your side and lift your top leg): 5 seconds
- side-stepping: 10 reps per side
- squat: 10 reps with body weight
Here are some frequently asked questions people have about GTPS.
How long does greater trochanteric pain syndrome last?
GTPS can last longer than
Can greater trochanter be cured?
The majority of people with GTPS can receive pain relief with conservative treatment. But many people experience a relapse in symptoms.
Is greater trochanteric pain syndrome a disability?
GTPS is a musculoskeletal injury that can cause moderate to severe pain and disability. Many people find GTPS affects their quality of life.
GTPS is a common cause of pain in the outer part of your hip. It most commonly affects women in their 40s to 60s. Conservative treatments like avoiding painful activities, strengthening your hips, and NSAIDs are typically successful in relieving GTPS symptoms.
Surgery is usually only needed as a last resort. Your doctor will likely recommend conservative treatment for at least 6 months before recommending surgery.