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Struggling with Stubborn Hip Pain?

Gluteal tendinopathy is a common cause of pain on the outside of hip. Here are some of the signs and symptoms and how best to deal with it.


What are the symptoms of Gluteal Tendinopathy?

It causes pain on the outside (lateral) aspect of the hip that worsens with walking and running, particularly going uphill or upstairs, and when lying on your side or after sitting for long periods. It is three times more prevalent in women than men and is more common in middle age.


What causes it?

Tendon pain is often triggered from a sudden increased or change in load, such as doing a lot more walking than normal. Biomechanics also play a role in the development of gluteal tendinopathy. Women tend to have a wider angle from pelvis to knee (known as the Q angle) which increases the compressive load on the gluteal tendons; this explains why this is seen more commonly in women. Often it’s a combination of a change in load and the bio-mechanical compression that causes the gluteal tendon to become painful.


Should I keep exercising?

Tendons don’t get better with complete rest but modifying your activity levels is sensible to help reduce pain - so for example, reducing the length of your walks. Try and remain as active as you can and seek advice from a physio if it’s not improving.


What else can I do to ease the pain?

Avoid crossing your legs and try sleeping with a pillow between your knees to reduce the compression on the outside of the hip. Applying ice to the area wrapped in a damp towel can also help reduce pain.


How can I get it better?

Working on exercises that strengthen the buttock muscles is normally the best approach to address and resolve this problem. Research has shown produces excellent outcomes in reducing pain and helping you return to normal activity levels. Seeing a Physiotherapist will ensure you working on the most effective graded program to ensure you make a full recovery.


Is it the same as a bursitis?

No, but bursitis and tendinopathy can occur together. Bursa are small fluid filled sacs that sit between tendons and bones and can become inflamed and painful: this is described as bursitis. The symptoms of bursitis can be similar to those of Gluteal Tendinopathy and the advice is often the same, an individualised assessment will help confirm your diagnosis.


Can an injection help?


Research suggests that an appropriate progressive exercise program is as effective as cortisone steroid injection for Gluteal Tendinopathy. It’s advisable to work on a comprehensive rehab program as a first line and your Physiotherapist can advise if other scans or treatment options need to be considered.


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