Exercises for greater trochanteric pain syndrome

Learn exercises to help with greater trochanteric pain syndrome

After greater trochanteric pain syndrome, it's important to get movement and strength back. This supports tissue healing and will help you get moving again.

You may not be able to return to your usual exercise levels immediately and improvements may be slow to start with. However, a gradual return to normal activities is the best way to get good short and long term results after greater trochanteric pain syndrome.

When doing exercise you should listen to your pain levels, especially in the early stages. You may find that these exercises increase your symptoms slightly in the beginning. However, they should get easier over time and, with regular practice, can help to improve movement in the leg.

If the exercises do cause some discomfort then taking prescribed medication from your GP or pharmacist may help to keep you exercising.

The exercises in these videos are suitable for people diagnosed with greater trochanteric pain syndrome.

Read more about exercises for hip problems

Please ensure you do these exercises in a safe environment. Only try these exercises if you are feeling well enough.

If you start to feel unwell stop these exercises immediately.

If this is the first time you have attempted these exercises please read the information below before starting.

You should do this exercise lying down. A good place to do this exercise is on your bed.

Bringing your hips up and down again is one repetition.

  1. Begin by lying on your back with your arms by your sides. Your knees should point towards the ceiling.
  2. Using your arms for support, slowly push your hips up towards the ceiling.
  3. Hold for a few seconds and then slowly bring your hips back down to the floor.

Do this exercise in lying with your head supported, your bed is a good place to do this exercise.

Raising the leg up and then back to the start is 1 repetition

  1. Begin by lying on your side with your head supported.
  2. Place a pillow between your knees.
  3. Gently raise your leg towards the ceiling.
  4. Hold for a few seconds and then return to the starting position.

 Make sure that your top leg remains in line with your body as you do this exercise and doesn’t come forward in front of your body.

Standing at the base of your step such as the bottom step in your house.

  1. Step up onto the step leading with your affected leg.
  2. Keep the affected leg on the step and then slowly step up and down with the opposite leg.

How to tell if you're exercising at the right level

This guide can help you to understand if you're exercising at the right level. It'll also let you see how much pain or discomfort is acceptable.

It can be helpful to rate your pain out of 10 (0 being no pain 10 being the worst pain you have ever had), for example:

  • 0 to 3 - minimal pain
  • 4 to 5 - acceptable pain
  • 6 to 10 - excessive pain

Pain during exercise

Aim to keep your pain within a rating of 0 to 5. If your pain gets above this level, you can change the exercises by:

  • reducing the number of times you do a movement
  • reducing the speed of a movement
  • increasing rest time between movements

Pain after exercise

Exercise should not make your existing greater trochanteric pain syndrome worse overall. However, practicing new exercises can sometimes cause short term muscle pain as the body gets used to moving in new ways. This kind of pain should ease quickly and your pain should be no worse the morning after you’ve exercised.

How many and how often

You should add exercises into your routine gradually to help your greater trochanteric pain syndrome.

Movement exercises

Repetitions are how often you do a single movement. When starting new exercises, it can be helpful to do 2 to 3 repetitions at a time.

It’s better to do small amounts throughout the day. For example, practise your repetitions every hour.

As this gets easier, and if you feel able to, add 1 or 2 repetitions to your movements every few days.

As you become able to do more repetitions, it can be helpful to break things up into sets. This means you could do more repetitions at a time but you'll do them less often throughout the day. For example:

  1. Do 8 repetitions.
  2. Rest for a minute.
  3. Repeat another set of 8 repetitions.
  4. Repeat this 2 to 3 times a day.

Over time you can try to increase the number of repetitions you do. You should aim for a maximum of 2 sets of 15.

Stretching exercises

The aim of a stretch is to hold a position for a longer period of time. Over time this can help to improve your range of movement.

When doing the exercise you should be able to feel a gentle stretch. This shouldn't be sore or uncomfortable.

You should try to hold stretches for 20 to 30 seconds if possible.

Try to focus on doing sets of exercises. For example, do 2 to 3 sets of stretches. Aim to do this 2 to 3 times a day.

As you do more stretching you should feel your range of movement improve and you’ll be able to stretch further.

When to stop

Stop these exercises if they make your symptoms worse, or if they cause new pain.

If your greater trochanteric pain syndrome worsens while following this advice, it’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional about your symptoms.

Help and support

Read more about self-managing a hip problem

If your greater trochanteric pain syndrome hasn’t improved within 6 weeks of following this advice, it’s a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional about your symptoms.