Digital Health - July 24, 2020
Tips to relieve Gluteal Tendinopathy and Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome with Rachael Cowan (PhD)

I have pain in have side of my hip – what should I do?

Pain in the side of the hip can be caused by the following:


Rachael Cowan, physiotherapist consulting at Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre in Geelong and undertaking a PhD through La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, offers some tips for treatment.

We’ve all adjusted to a new way of living during the COVID-19 pandemic.  You may have started a new activity or sport, changed your training load, increased time sitting or lying, returned to an old activity after some time away, or simply not been able to perform your usual strength regime.  Unfortunately, tendons do not like sudden changes in load and this may result in pain.

Helpful tips –

It can be as simple as adjusting daily activities or habits to ensure you are not aggravating the gluteal tendons, to reduce pain and improve function.  Here are some helpful tips:

    • Avoid sitting with legs crossed
    • Sit with your hips higher than knees
    • Stand evenly on both feet and hip width apart
    • Avoid lying on your sore hip and place a pillow under top leg if lying on your side
    • Sleep on your back where possible
    • Continue exercising as tolerated
    • Avoid aggravating exercise

For advice regarding an appropriate exercise program and load management specific to your injury, see your physiotherapist.

Where is lateral hip pain?

Lateral hip pain refers to pain and/or dysfunction of the gluteal tendons at the side of the hip.  These tendons attach the gluteal muscles from the buttock area to the side of the hip.  Our gluteal muscles and tendons are critical for walking, running, standing on one leg, stairs, standing from sitting.

Who does it affect?

Pain in the area of these tendons can occur in both athletes and non-athletes.  Both men and women can experience this pain, but it is more common in women due to their pelvic bony structure and particularly post-menopausal women, because of change in hormones and generally a greater body fat composition compared to men.

What can I do?

Lateral hip pain can be debilitating and chronic.  Fortunately, education about avoiding compression of the tendons in combination with appropriate exercise can help to reduce pain and restore normal function. Your physiotherapist will assess your condition to confirm the cause of symptoms, provide education about how to avoid aggravation and prescribe an appropriate exercise program tailored to your needs.

Rachael Cowan is a physiotherapist consulting at Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre in Geelong and undertaking a PhD through La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, with supervisors Professor Jill Cook and Dr Tania Pizzari.  Rachael’s research broadly investigates gluteal muscles and tendons; looking at how these muscles and tendons adapt in both health and pathology.  The research involves highly active populations as well as the general community, including a population at highest risk of this condition; post-menopausal women.  Part of Rachael’s research involved leading a large radomised controlled trial investigating menopausal hormone therapy and exercise as interventions for post-menopausal women with greater trochanteric pain syndrome.  Results of this trial will be available later this year.