Numerous problems can create this laterally based pain, ranging from soft tissue inflammation to structural damage of the abductor tendons (gluteus medius & minimus). Thus, the term greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS) was coined to describe the constellation of problems that can present as laterally based pain. GTPS is a more accurate description than bursitis, which is only sometimes the cause.
What is the Trochanteric Bursa?
A bursa is a membranous sac containing a thin film of fluid. The interior of the sac is lined with synovial membrane which produces this thin fluid film (synovial fluid). Synovium also lines the interior of joint capsules and produces the synovial fluid that lubricates joints. A bursa forms to prevent friction where a tendon or skin (there is a bursa under the skin on the back of your elbow) rubs across bone. There are actually 13 different bursae around the hip, but the Trochanteric Bursa is the largest. It lays between the Iliotibial Band (IT Band) and the Greater Trochanter. The IT Band is a broad superficial tendon along the outer side of the hip and the Greater Trochanter is the bony prominence that you can feel on along the side of your hip. The bursa prevents friction as the undersurface of the IT Band glides back and forth across the Greater Trochanter.