Many patients have pain that they attribute to the hip, but that actually originates from an area outside the hip joint. Pain from the side, or lateral, part of the hip includes iliotibial (IT) band pain as well as tendinitis, tears of the gluteal tendons as they attach to the bone (gluteal cuff) and inflammation of the trochanteric bursa (bursitis).

While some physicians and therapists in the past may have treated all of these conditions as “bursitis,” we now have a nuanced understanding of these issues and can treat them more individually with more effective methods. We now call this collection of conditions “greater trochanteric pain syndrome,” or GTPS.

What causes lateral hip pain or GTPS?

Gluteus tendon tears typically come from traumatic injuries, such as falls, or from wear and tear of the gluteus medius and minimus tendons over a bone called the greater trochanter.

Many times, gluteus tendon tears are caused by long-term, chronic injuries and overlap with IT band syndrome and trochanteric bursitis.

Age, genetics and activity all can factor into the development of pain in this area.

What are the symptoms of GTPS?

The symptoms of GTPS (IT band syndrome, gluteal tendon tears and bursitis) may include:

  • Pain felt on the outside, widest part of the hip
  • Sometimes pain from the buttock or down into the side of the thigh
  • Pain that worsens with certain activities, including walking, twisting and getting in and out of a car
  • Sometimes limping while walking
  • Pain at night while lying on the side of the hip

How are GTPS conditions diagnosed?

Diagnosing lateral hip problems begins with Ohio State Sports Medicine experts gathering a detailed medical history, physical examination and a list of reported symptoms. We’ll see what types of activities and motions seem to provoke more pain.

X-rays are typically part of the initial evaluation to help solidify diagnosis and rule out other significant problems. This image includes a view of the whole pelvis and anterior and lateral views of the affected hip.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used for better visualization of the hip joint, bursa and gluteal tendons.

How are GTPS conditions treated?

These lateral hip issues typically are treated without surgery. Nonsurgical treatments can include:

  • Rest
  • NSAID medication
  • Formal physical therapy and/or home exercise programs
  • Injections of corticosteroids or platelet-rich plasma

Surgery can be used to alleviate pain from the IT band, remove inflamed bursa and/or repair torn tendons back to the bone to allow them to heal.

Why choose Ohio State for hip treatment?

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center specializes in the most advanced, personalized treatment options for lateral hip pain.

The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center’s integrated hip team includes surgeons, sport medicine physicians, physical therapists, clinic staff, administrative staff and a research team who specialize in these types of injuries and treatments. Orthopedic experts at the medical center lead medical research to improve hip treatment and determine more specific causes for injuries.

Patients at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center also have the unique opportunity to receive new, novel treatments, such as orthobiologic treatments like platelet-rich plasma, and to participate in clinical trials of newly developed therapies.

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