Patient Information

Greater trochanteric pain syndrome


What is greater trochanteric pain syndrome?

This condition affects the muscles and tendons on the outside of your hip.

It is also commonly referred to as ‘trochanteric bursitis’, ‘lateral hip pain’ or ‘gluteal tendinopathy’.

What causes it?

There is often not a single cause or event. It is often associated with a change in activity such as increasing walking, starting a new hobby or decreasing activity levels. It can be a combination of small changes over time.

Other factors that contribute include:

  • gaining weight
  • prolonged time standing
  • having a wider pelvis
  • muscle tightness or weakness around the hip.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can vary but it’s typical to have one or more of the following:

  • aching around the outside of your hip and upper leg
  • pain when lying on your side
  • pain going uphill or upstairs
  • pain when crossing your legs
  • pain when standing on one leg
  • pain when rising from a chair and on the first few steps after rest.

Speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice on pain relief.

What can you do to help?

There are a number of things you can do to help ease symptoms.

  • Place your feet wider apart when going upstairs.
  • Sleep on your back or on your non-painful side with a pillow between your knees.
Photo of woman lying on her side with a pillow between her knees
Photo of woman standing with most of her weight on her left leg, causing her left hip to jut out to her left. Photo has a red cross over it to indicate this is a poor position

Avoid things that aggravate the pain, such as:

  • sitting with crossed legs
  • lying on your painful side
  • sitting in low chairs
  • standing with weight shifted to one hip (called hanging on the hip, see picture, left).


The main treatment is a combination of reducing activities that make it worse, and gradual strengthening exercises.

Complete the following exercises every day. Start with the lower number of repetitions and gradually increase as they become easier. It is OK for there to be some discomfort when completing the exercises. Usually symptoms will improve within 3 to 6 months.

Push out against a belt around the knees
  • Lay on your back with a belt around your knees and your legs hip width apart.
  • Push both legs out against the belt.
  • Hold for 15 seconds.
  • Repeat this 5 to 10 times, twice a day.
Photo of man lying on his back with a band around his legs, just above the knees
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip width apart.
  • Pushing through your heels and squeezing your buttocks, raise your bottom as far as comfortable.
  • Slowly lower back down. Try not to hold your breath.
  • Repeat 8 to 15 times, once a day.
Two photos of man lying on his back with his feet on the floor, knees bent. In the first photo, his bottom is on the floor. In the second, his hips are raised.
  • Stand in front of a chair with feet hip width apart.
  • Squat down by sitting your hips back, as if you are going to sit down.
  • Push back up into standing.
  • Repeat 8 to 15 times, once a day.
Photo of man standing in front of chair
Photo of man squatting backwards, lowering himself to a chair
Photo of man standing back up again
Side stepping
  • Step side to side.
  • Repeat 8 to 15 steps in each direction, once a day.
Photo of man standing with feet hip-width apart
Photo of man taking a step to the side
Photo of man standing, this time one pace to his left


Physiotherapy 020 8934 2510 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

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Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).

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