“GTPS” stands for greater trochanteric pain syndrome. This is a condition that causes pain in the hip area. Several treatments are available for the condition.

GTPS causes pain and tenderness in the hip and buttocks region. Healthcare professionals sometimes refer to it as lateral hip pain or trochanteric bursitis.

According to a 2017 review, the main goal of GTPS treatment is to reduce the load and compression on the hip, which should reduce pain. Treatment also helps strengthen the affected muscles.

This article looks at the treatments available for GTPS. It also assesses the treatment options, including pain management, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, shockwave therapy, and home management.

A person walking down some stairs to get treatment for greater trochanteric pain syndrome.Share on Pinterest
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At first, a doctor may recommend the use of NSAIDs. A person can purchase some NSAIDs over the counter without a prescription, while other types require a prescription.

NSAIDs are beneficial for pain management in GTPS. They can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Examples of NSAIDs include:

  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen
  • piroxicam
  • celecoxib
  • aspirin

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends that people consult a doctor about which NSAID to take. This is because these medications may have adverse side effects if a person has a particular medical condition or if they are taking certain other medications.

Individuals who take blood thinning medications or are at risk for gastrointestinal bleeding should not take NSAIDs.

Those with GTPS may benefit from physical therapy. It should help minimize pain and, in time, improve hip strength and flexibility.

A physical therapist will tailor the sessions to the individual.

Research states that initial sessions should focus on strengthening the gluteal muscles. After this, a physical therapist may begin to focus on strengthening the hip abductor muscles.

A person can expect a physical therapist to show them exercises to help them stretch and strengthen the targeted muscles appropriately. The physical therapist may ask the person to do these exercises at home.

A person may receive a corticosteroid injection into the hip if physical therapy and pain management techniques do not work.

The AAOS says a corticosteroid injection can provide temporary relief, which may last for some months. In some cases, it may provide permanent pain relief.

To avoid tissue damage, a person can receive only a set number of these injections.

A 2018 study found that corticosteroid injections for the treatment of GTPS were generally effective for short-term pain relief.

Corticosteroid injections:

  • may help reduce pain and inflammation
  • can help relieve pain for months at a time
  • may provide pain relief quickly

However, corticosteroid injections also have some risks.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, the possible long-term side effects of using corticosteroids include:

  • loss of cartilage
  • adrenal suppression
  • changes in blood sugar levels
  • bone loss and bone death
  • weight gain
  • vision problems such as cataracts and glaucoma
  • increased blood pressure
  • infection
  • mood changes
  • skin changes

A person may receive platelet-rich plasma injections, which involve using the person’s blood cells to promote healing in an area of the body.

A doctor takes a blood sample from an individual and places the sample into a centrifuge device. This device separates the platelets from the rest of the blood and mixes the platelets with the plasma.

A doctor then injects this solution into the painful area to encourage healing.

ESWT is a noninvasive procedure that may deliver promising results in those with GTPS. It involves applying shockwaves to the affected area to promote healing.

A 2018 study found that ESWT in the treatment of GTPS was beneficial for pain relief over a 2-year period.

According to a 2017 review of research on ESWT for plantar fasciitis, the procedure is safe and the researchers did not expect any complications to occur at 1-year follow-ups. However, the researchers state that the long-term side effects are unknown.

No recovery time is necessary for ESWT. However, it does come with some risks, including:

  • bruising
  • swelling and pain
  • numbness and tingling

Surgery is rarely necessary to treat GTPS. However, a healthcare professional may recommend surgery to remove the bursa if nonsurgical treatments do not work.

The AAOS states that removing the bursa does not hurt the hip and that the hip will function without it.

Although open surgery is an option, surgeons may instead make a small incision over the hip and insert a small camera called an arthroscope. They will then make a second incision and insert a small surgical instrument to remove the bursa.

This is less invasive than open surgery and requires less recovery time.

Although surgery seems to be effective, more research is necessary.

People can manage GTPS with the appropriate treatment. They can help manage the pain by:

  • applying hot or cold therapy
  • using assistive devices, such as a walking cane
  • avoiding repetitive activities that put stress on the hips
  • making efforts to reach or maintain a healthy BMI
  • maintaining the flexibility and strength of the hips
  • getting a properly fitted shoe insert if their legs are not the same length

People should also:

  • avoid sitting with crossed legs
  • avoid sitting with the knees wide apart or too close together
  • avoid low chairs
  • use a handrail when climbing the stairs

Is it safe to exercise?

A person with GTPS should limit some of their physical activities when possible.

In some cases, exercise may be the cause of GTPS. For example, trauma may result from repetitive exercise.

A person with GTPS may wish to avoid intense physical activity until they recover. However, they should not stop physical activity altogether. Instead, they can take part in gentle walks or low intensity exercise.

Small hip exercises and stretches may also be beneficial to reduce pain from GTPS.

A person should check with a doctor or physical therapist on which exercises may be best for them.

Treatment can cure the condition in most cases, with a success rate of 90%.

With appropriate management, a person can take 2–3 months or longer to recover from GTPS.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) notes that an estimated 6 out of 10 individuals recover from GTPS within 1 year.

The following are some frequently asked questions about GTPS.

What is the best treatment for greater trochanteric pain syndrome?

The best treatment for GTPS varies from person to person.

Some people will be able to manage the condition with NSAIDs and physical therapy, while others may need corticosteroid injections or shockwave therapy.

What are some of the common risk factors for GTPS?

Risk factors for GTPS include:

  • repetitive use of the hip joint, such as in running, cycling, or standing for long periods
  • hip injury
  • spinal diseases such as scoliosis and spinal arthritis
  • differences in leg length
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • previous surgery
  • bone spurs
  • calcium deposits

GTPS is a condition that causes pain in the hip. It is treatable, and most people can completely recover with the appropriate treatment.

Various treatment options are available, including NSAIDs, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, platelet-rich plasma injections, and shockwave therapy. Surgery is an option in rare cases.

A person can also use some lifestyle strategies to try to manage the pain themselves at home.