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Hip Pain

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What causes the hip pain?

Pain over the lateral hip is estimated to affect 10-25% of the general population and the trochanteric bursa is commonly blamed for the pain. However, it is more likely to be generated from tendons of the muscles on the outside of the hip – the hip abductors. These muscles and tendons can suffer from “wear and tear” and can become sore and sometimes inflame the adjacent bursa (fat pad). These tendons can become painful because of direct trauma or due to other factors including poor lower limb biomechanics, osteoarthritis of the hip or knee joint, lumbar spine degeneration, or lumbopelvic instability. It is important that any other problems that may have caused this hip pain also be addressed, not only to reduce your pain but also to prevent it coming back. Not treating this problem can cause further damage to the hips, knees and lower back, and it is important this problem be treated appropriately.

What can I do to help ease the pain?

  • Ice over the area to reduce pain and sensitivity. Apply for 10-15 minutes as often as required
  • Always wear the appropriate footwear. This can help improve your foot mechanics and take the load off the hip abductors
  • Pain medication or local corticosteroid injection to help reduce pain in the short term – See your GP for further information or advice
  • Physiotherapy can help to strengthen the affected muscle or tendon and stretch the tight or shortened muscles to reduce the load on the hip abductors. Your physiotherapist can also help identify other factors that may have contributed to developing the pain and treat accordingly. For example, strengthening the core abdominals, or mobilising the hip or lumbar spine.
  • Try the exercises below to help reduce pain. These may be difficult to start with but should get easier with practice.