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.

GTPS used to be called greater trochanteric bursitis because it used to be thought that pain was primarily caused by bursitis, inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in your hip called bursae. It’s now known that injury to the tendons of your gluteus medius and minimus muscles are the primary cause of pain and that bursitis rarely occurs in this part of your hip by itself.

About 1.8 people per 1,000 per year develop GTPS, and women are affected about 2 to 3 times more often than men.

Keep reading to learn more about this common hip condition, including symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

The primary symptoms of GTPS are:

GTPS refers to a group of conditions that cause pain around the same area. The underlying cause of pain may be due to:

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
  • scoliosis
  • having one leg longer than the other

Here’s a look at where GTPS develops in your hip.

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Greater trochanteric pain syndrome. Illustration by Wenzdai Figueroa.

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

The “ability to put shoes and socks on” can help differentiate GTPS from hip osteoarthritis. People with GTPS generally do not have problems with this motion.

A doctor or physiotherapist may have you stand on one leg. Pain within 30 seconds is highly suggestive of GTPS.

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.

About 90% of people with GTPS are successfully treated with nonsurgical methods. Doctors usually do not recommend surgery unless 6 to 12 months of conservative treatment is not effective.

Read about GTPS treatment options in more depth here.

First-line treatments

First-line treatment for GTPS usually involves some combination of:

Medical treatments

If first-line therapies are not effective, your doctor may recommend


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:

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

Learn more about exercises to strengthen your hips.

Here are some frequently asked questions people have about GTPS.

How long does greater trochanteric pain syndrome last?

GTPS can last longer than 2 to 3 months with conservative treatment. Pain is more likely to linger if you do not receive proper treatment.

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.