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How To Treat Hip Bursitis?

Evidence-Informed Self-Help Strategies for Managing Hip Bursitis

(aka- Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS))

Hip Bursitis or Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS) can be a challenging condition to manage, but evidence-informed self-help strategies can make a significant difference in alleviating your symptoms and improving your quality of life. GTPS is a common cause of lateral hip pain, affecting a substantial percentage of individuals, particularly women between the ages of 40 and 60. GTPS can also be known as :

  • hip bursitis

  • gluteal tendinopathy

  • tensor fascia lata tendinopathy,

  • or simply lateral hip pain

A person is lying on their back on a Pilates reformer. They have their legs in the reformer straps and are doing a hip abduction exercise.  This image may be used to promote Pilates as a treatment for hip bursitis. Hip abduction exercises can help to strengthen the muscles around the hip and improve flexibility. This can help to reduce pain and inflammation associated with hip bursitis.  The image is also a good reminder that Pilates can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including hip bursitis. Pilates is a low-impact exercise that is gentle on the joints. It is also a very effective way to improve strength, flexibility, and balance.

By following these evidence-based guidelines, you can take control of your GTPS and enhance your well-being. The initial approach to managing GTPS typically involves conservative interventions, which are successful in over 90% of cases.

If you would like to learn more about the assessment of your lateral hip pain we recommend reading this article first.

How can I change my Hip Bursitis / GTPS / Hip Pain?

1. Accurate Self-Assessment: Read this article on the Assessment of Lateral Hip pain, or talk to your physio at Move Sports Physio in Geelong.

2. Weight Management: Evidence suggests that maintaining a healthy weight can significantly reduce the load on your hip joints and tendons, potentially alleviating GTPS / hip bursitis symptoms. If you are overweight, consider working with a healthcare provider or nutritionist to develop a personalised weight management plan.

3. Pain Management: During the acute phase of GTPS/ Hip Bursitis managing pain is crucial. Evidence-informed pain management strategies include:

  • Rest: Giving your hip time to heal by avoiding activities that exacerbate your pain. Remember everything in moderation, the long-term treatment of GTPS is strengthing and improving your biomechanics, TOTAL REST IS NOT RECOMMENDED!

  • Cryotherapy: Applying ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time, multiple times a day, can help reduce pain.

  • Over-the-counter medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen (paracetamol) may provide temporary pain relief. Follow recommended dosages.

4. Exercise and Stretching: Exercise and strength training is a cornerstone of GTPS management. Evidence supports the following strategies:

  • Gluteal Strengthening: Evidence suggests that targeted exercises for the gluteus medius and minimus muscles can improve GTPS symptoms. Start with simple exercises and progress under professional guidance, this can be completed in clinical pilates classes, or a specific home exercise program. See this article here for some hip strengthening exercises you can complete at home.

  • Stretching: Gentle stretching exercises for hip flexors, and hamstrings can reduce tension around the hip. Just be cautious not to add compressive forces around the hip

5. Load Modification: Evidence supports the importance of load modification to minimize activities that worsen GTPS/ Hip Bursitis symptoms. Be aware of positions involving excessive hip adduction or external rotation, and adapt your daily activities accordingly. Ie this position;

A woman is sitting on a couch with her legs crossed. The text "MOVE" is superimposed on the image, and the text "Avoid Crossed Leg Sitting" is below the image.  This image may be used to educate people about the dangers of sitting with their legs crossed. Crossed leg sitting can compress the nerves and blood vessels in the legs, which can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling. It can also increase the risk of developing venous thrombosis, a blood clot in the leg.  The image is a good reminder to avoid sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time. If you do need to sit with your legs crossed, try to do so for no more than 15-20 minutes at a time.

6. Biomechanical Optimisation: Evidence-informed biomechanical strategies include:

  • Posture: Maintain good posture to optimize hip biomechanics. Ie watch how much you sashay when walking.

  • Sleeping Position: Use a pillow between your legs when sleeping to prevent hip adduction and reduce discomfort.

 Alt text:  A cartoon of a person lying on a bed with a pillow and a check mark next to them. The person is smiling and appears to be sleeping soundly.  This image may be used to promote good sleep hygiene or to illustrate the benefits of a good night's sleep. To reduce hip bursitis pain use a pillow between your legs

7. Education and Self-Management: Evidence highlights the importance of education and self-management. Understanding GTPS/ Hip Bursitis and adhering to your exercise regimen is crucial. Be patient and diligent in following your self-help plan. Remember GTPS can take 3-6 months to settle and heal, play the long game.

8. Monitoring and Seeking Professional Help: Evidence-informed practice emphasizes monitoring your progress. Keep a symptom diary and reach out to the team a MOVE to help if your symptoms persist or worsen despite self-management efforts.

Incorporating these evidence-informed self-help strategies into your daily routine can lead to improved GTPS/Hip Bursitis management and a better quality of life. Remember that GTPS/ Bursitis is manageable, and by taking a proactive, evidence-based approach, you can effectively address your symptoms and enhance your well-being.

Keen to get started now?

Stay tuned for our next blog posts on the best exercises to do for GPTS, (hip tendinopathy/ hip bursitis)


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