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Women with pelvic pain

Great Trochanter Bursitis: What Is It & Could You Have It?

Do you suffer from hip pain when laying on your side? Read on to find out more…

What is Greater Trochanter Bursitis (side hip pain)?

Okay, let’s break this down.
There is a part of your hip called the Greater Trochanter and it is located near the femur (thigh bone) where the hip and thigh muscles attach.

The Bursa is a sac of fluid which covers the bony part of the hip that is near the femur and its function is to reduce rubbing between the tendons and the bone..

What is Hip Tendon Injury and What Does It Have To Do With Side Hip Pain?

The Gluteal muscle is made up of three different muscles that run from the thigh up to the hip and essentially, they make the buttocks. The Gluteal tendons are the strong fibres that connect the Gluteal muscles to your hip bone.
Gluteal Tendinopathy is a common hip tendon injury due to overuse and Greater Trochanter Bursitis is an inflammation of the sac of fluid that covers the bony part of the hip.
They usually co-exist due to overcompensating in each area due to pain. These conditions are put into the same group and can be referred to as Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

  • Pain located over the outside of the hip which may refer down the outside of the leg to the knee.
  • Pain is often a gradually onset which progressively gets worse if left untreated.
  • Unable to sleep on the affected side due to pain.
  • Depending on severity , pain may be experienced with single leg stance on the affected leg, stairs and walking/running.
  • Pain with palpation over the Greater Trochanter.

Things you can do at home

  • Avoid sitting cross legged. When you sit cross legged the bursa is compressed between the Greater Trochanter (bony part of the hip) and the Gluteal tendons, further irritating the inflamed bursa.
  • Sleep on the unaffected side with a pillow between the legs.
  • Use an eggshell mattress overlay.
  • Heat over the hip to assist with pain relief.

What Physiotherapy Can Do

  • Soft tissue massage and dry needling to release the Gluteal Muscles which are often tight and tender.
  • Strengthening exercises for the Gluteal Muscles which help reduce pain and prevent future flare ups.

Written by Australind Physio, Sam Frost.

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