Understanding Hip Bursitis: Symptoms, Causes, and Physiotherapy Solutions

Travis Kluckhenn
by Travis Kluckhenn

If you experience hip pain when lying on your side, getting up after sitting for a while, or going for a walk, you might be dealing with a condition known as Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS). GTPS, also referred to as Hip Bursitis, affects one in four women aged over 50. The pain caused by GTPS can be debilitating, impacting sleep and physical activity, and it’s as disabling as hip arthritis for many.


GTPS tends to affect women more commonly during and after menopause due to hormonal changes, as well as factors like pelvic shape and muscle strength. Certain postures and activities, such as sitting cross-legged or standing with all weight on one leg, can exacerbate the condition.


Symptoms of Hip Bursitis, or GTPS, include:

  • Pain over the outside of your hip.
  • Pain radiating down the outer thigh or towards the buttock.
  • Often associated with low back or knee pain.


Activities that can worsen hip pain:

  • Lying or sleeping on the sore hip
  • Going for walks, particularly up hills or on uneven ground
  • Walking up stairs
  • Driving and getting in/out of the car
  • Rising from a low chair or couch
  • Sitting cross-legged or with knees together
  • Prolonged standing or standing with most of your weight on the sore leg


Recent studies have shown that education and exercise offer the quickest pain relief and recovery for GTPS, surpassing commonly prescribed cortisone injections. Here are essential steps for treatment:


Treatment for Hip Bursitis, or GTPS – 

Step 1 – Education.

– Understand which activities aggravate your symptoms and learn to avoid or minimize them.

– Avoid lying on your sore hip; if you’re a side sleeper, use a thick pillow between your knees when lying on your good side.

– Sit with proper posture, evenly distributing weight on both hips, and consider using a pillow or posture wedge under your bottom for support.

– Learn about proper body mechanics for daily activities, such as sitting, standing, and walking, to reduce stress on your hip


Step 2 – Exercise.

– Engage in targeted exercises to strengthen the gluteal muscles while keeping your knees at least hip-width apart.

– Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your exercises as your strength and endurance improve.

– Incorporate low-impact activities like swimming or cycling to maintain cardiovascular fitness without aggravating hip pain.

– Enlist the help and guidance of a physiotherapist to prescribe a tailored exercise program that’s specific to your symptoms, needs and abilities.


Step 3 – Seek professional help.

– Consult with a physiotherapist experienced in treating GTPS.

– A knowledgeable healthcare professional can assess your condition, provide personalized treatment plans, and guide you through exercises to strengthen muscles and improve mobility.

– Get a massage from a therapist who understands which tight muscles contribute to GTPS, and can relieve them effectively.


Step 4 – Be patient.

– While some individuals may experience rapid improvement in symptoms, full recovery from GTPS typically takes time.

– Be patient and consistent with your treatment regimen, as progress may vary from person to person.

– Track your symptoms and progress over time, noting any changes or patterns that may arise.

Remember, effective management of GTPS requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both symptom relief and long-term recovery. By prioritizing education, seeking professional guidance, engaging in targeted exercises, and practicing patience, you can take proactive steps towards reclaiming your mobility and quality of life.


Learn more tips & tricks to relieve your hip bursitis pain HERE

If you’re struggling with hip pain, consider booking an appointment with our physiotherapists specifically trained in treating Hip Bursitis. Call 0397522368, or BOOK ONLINE today.


Maybe you’re suffering from another cause of hip pain, Hip Impingement? Learn more about this condition HERE