Hip

Bursitis / Gluteal Tendiopathy

The most common hip tendonitis 

Basically, gluteal tendinopathy is when you injure one or all of the gluteal (or buttock) tendons. These tendons attach the large gluteal muscles to the femur (upper leg) bone and, when they tear, it can cause a lot of pain in the hip as well as weakness and limping. Gluteal tendinopathy is also the most common cause of Greater Trochanteric Pain Syndrome (GTPS). Just like the name suggests, GTPS causes a lot of pain and is also characterised by a limited use of the gluteal muscles that you may notice during daily activities. 

GTPS in more detail

When a patient has hip joint problems, the pain is felt in the groin or on the side of the hip. This area is called the trochanter and is not actually part of the hip joint at all – when pain is felt here, we call it Greater Trochanter Pain Syndrome. What causes GTSP? We actually don’t know. Sometimes a minor accident or fall are linked to the pain, other times it feels like a spontaneous beginning. 

“The pain you feel may be coming from inflammation of the gluteal tendons or sometimes there’s a tear associated. It’s my job to ensure the pain is coming from your tendons and then work with you to get you back to pain-free movement,” says Dr. Rhys Clark.  

What about gluteal tendon tears and buritisis?

A tendon tear usually occurs where the muscle joins the bone. These tears can be microscopic but they cause inflammation which causes pain. These tears might mean you walk with a limp or get pain after walking some distance. 

If you have a gluteal tear, there will be inflammation occurring in the bursa. This is the sack of lubricating fluid that sits over the trochanter (the bony part on the side of the hip). This inflammation is called buritisis and it can also cause a lot of pain.  

“There are a lot of conditions that can cause hip pain. No matter what yours is, trying to live a normal, active life with pain and reduced mobility is simply not possible. When you no longer have to think, ‘Will this hurt me?’ ‘Will I be able to do that?’ then I know I’ve made a difference.”

Non-surgical treatment options

Gluteal tendinopathy, GTPS, and buritisis can be difficult conditions to treat. Initially, anti-inflammatories may be prescribed as well as other painkillers and/or cortisone injections. Physiotherapy plays a large role in the recovery of gluteal tendinopathy. With appropriate physiotherapy, the gluteal muscles are built up slowly, strengthening the tendons at the same time. A majority of patient can have good success with this treatment however it does take time and patience.

The surgical treatment option

If these remedies don’t offer enough ongoing relief, surgery can be an option. If there is a larger tear in the tendon, or if the tendon is of poorer quality and therefore not healing as it should, surgery can offer a way to get back to a pain-free life.