Lateral Hip Pain Fact Sheet

Lateral Hip Pain

Lateral hip pain can be debilitating injury that affects individuals across all walks of life. From elite runners, new mums and older people it seems to be a condition we are seeing a lot more of.

What is it?

Localised lateral hip pain with focal point tenderness over the greater trochanter has traditionally been diagnosed as trochanteric bursitis. This diagnosis may be inappropriate given that some of the cardinal signs of inflammation such as erythema and oedema are uncommon with pain being the main feature of this condition.

Radiological findings for patients with lateral hip pain report variable incidence, with bursitis incidence ranging from 4% to 46% and gluteal tendinopathy ranging from 18% to 50% (Quiroz et al., 2013; Long et al., 2013). Clinically isolated bursitis is not possible and there is often co-existence of bursitis, gluteal tendinopathy and potentially degenerative gluteal tears in the older population. Epidemiologically middle aged females are more likely to experience lateral hip pain compared to their male counterparts (Segal et al., 2007).

Contributing Factors

  • Wide Q Angle: increases compressive forces on lateral hip and time spend in hip adduction
  • Poor lumbo-pelvic control: leads to knee valgum when performing single leg activities and increased gluteal tendon load
  • Sudden increases in load such as “hanging off hip” for new mum’s, hill or cambered running

Signs and Symptoms

  • General ache in and around greater trochanter
  • Pain or inability to walk/ run hills or climb stairs
  • Sitting in low chairs or cross legged
  • Pain lying on affected side at night time
  • Morning stiffness
  • Symptoms that improve during warm up of sporting activity but will increase over following 24-48hrs post activity

How Does Physiotherapy Treat and Manage

  1. Settle Symptoms
    • Oral or Topical NSAID +/- pain relief (always done in conjunction with GP)
    • Ice
    • Deload training
    • Isometric muscle loading
  2. Address Daily Patterns of Irritation
    • Avoid low chairs or sitting cross legged during the day
    • Sleeping with a pillow between knees at night time
    • Address standing postures
    • NO stretching
  3. Pelvic and Hip Stability
    • Isometric muscle contractions in a static state 3-5 x 30-60secs
    • Weight bearing exercises with focus on gluteal activation and control
    • Gradually adding load to stimulate improved tendon capacity
    • Single leg stability training
    • Core stability and general strength training of lower limb muscles
  4. Graded strengthening and progressive return to activity


Any further questions please feel free to call our clinics to discuss with one of our qualified physiotherapists.

Narrabeen (02) 9913 2632 – Unit 13, 11-21 Waterloo St, Narrabeen NSW 2101

Newport (02) 9979 5291 – Shop 2, 364 Barrenjoey Rd, Newport NSW 2106