‘Trochanteric bursitis’? Consider gluteal tendinopathy as a more likely diagnosis.

A commonly overlooked diagnosis of lateral hip pain is gluteal tendinopathy. The relative emphasis on ‘trochanteric bursitis’ compared with tendinopathy is likely reversed. The tendinopathy is much more prevalent that the ‘bursitis’ according to MR studies of the regions.

At surgery for total hip arthroplasty, surgeons often find major tears in the gluteus medius (Bunker and colleagues, 1997, among others). More recent MR studies have highlighted this pathology.

Have you ever wondered why ‘strengthening exercises’ are helpful in treatment of  lateral hip pain? This would be counterintuitive for a ‘bursitis’ but perfectly logical for a tendinopathy.

The take home message: Please consider gluteal tendinopathy in the patient who presents with lateral hip pain. It occurs across the ages – from the active sports person to the older person in whom it can be mistakenly diagnosed as ‘hip OA’!  Wouldn’t it be terrible if someone were to undergo hip joint replacement for a tendinopathy.

For further discussion of lateral hip pain and groin pain, consider the link here.

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