Hip pain, a common complaint amongst female peri/post menopausal women.

Lateral hip pain
(gluteal tendinopathy/greater trochanteric pain syndrome)

A common complaint amongst female peri/post menopausal women is an onset of pain over the outside of the hip. Researchers in this area believe that this issue is most common for this demographic population due to the width of the female pelvis, hormonal changes that occur affecting the homeostasis of the tendon, weight gain which is common during this stage and overload to the tendons around the outer hip due to activity changes and poor biomechanics.

Generally the pain begins when there is a mechanism causing a repetitive compressive load to the tendons. These tendons are known as gluteus minimus and gluteus medius and are responsible for helping aid in hip control and stability. We often see this when someone might start an exercise program at the gym with all good intentions to lose weight/get fit and healthy and gradually start to feel lateral hip symptoms. If poor hip strength and poor biomechanics are involved this can gradually lead to repetitive compression on the outer hip tendons causing pain and tendon degeneration.

Symptoms include pain over the outer (lateral) aspect of the hip in an area known as the greater trochanter (bony bump on the side of the hip). Pain can sometimes travel to the outer thigh, buttock and lower back. Pain at night is very typical of this condition with discomfort laying sideways both on the affected side or on the opposite side with the affected side hanging down. Stair climbing and walking can begin to be painful as well as prolonged sitting.

Some simple changes in daily activities can have a dramatic impact on reducing the compression forces around the tendons and reducing pain. This may be as simple as not sitting cross legged, sleeping with a pillow between your knees, using an egg shell overlay and not standing or ‘hanging’ off one hip (like holding a baby on your side).

Assessment is very important to rule out any other hip pathology. Taking a thorough history in order to ascertain which activities are overloading and causing compression on the tendons and address any underlying biomechanical problems or weakness around the hip and trunk. Exercises will be prescribed in order to strengthen the hip and improve the gluteal tendons capacity to tolerate activity and maintain fitness without completely stopping your current fitness program. You may also find that soft tissue therapy by our physiotherapists and/or myotherapists will be beneficial in order to promote pain relief and improve muscle function whist rehabilitating.

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