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Imaging and management of greater trochanteric pain syndrome
  1. Rajat Chowdhury1,
  2. Sahar Naaseri2,
  3. Justin Lee2,
  4. Gajan Rajeswaran2
  1. 1Department of Radiology, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Oxford, UK
  2. 2Department of Radiology, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gajan Rajeswaran, Department of Radiology, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, 369 Fulham Road, London SW19 9NH, UK; grajeswaran{at}


Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS) is a commonly diagnosed regional pain syndrome with a wide spectrum of aetiologies, reflecting the anatomy of the structures outside the hip joint capsule. There are five muscle tendons that insert on to the greater trochanter and three bursae in the region of the greater trochanter. The term GTPS includes tendinopathies, tendinous tears, bursal inflammation and effusion. There are a range of treatments and therapies depending on the specific diagnosis and severity of the condition. Many patients with GTPS can be successfully managed conservatively with weight loss and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Patients suffering from more chronic pain can receive varying degrees of symptomatic relief with lateral hip corticosteroid and local anaesthetic injections. More severe refractory cases of GTPS can be treated with surgical intervention. It is therefore important to make the correct diagnosis to ensure that appropriate management can be implemented. The clinical features of GTPS however are often non-specific because common conditions such as lumbar radicular pain and hip joint osteoarthritis can present with an almost identical form of lateral hip pain. The various diagnostic imaging modalities have particular strengths and weaknesses with ultrasound being the best first-line investigation due to its availability, low cost, dynamic nature and ability to guide treatments such as steroid injections. MRI can be very helpful in the further investigation of patients in whom there is diagnostic uncertainty as to the cause of lateral hip pain and in whom specialist orthopaedic referral is being considered.

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