Trochanteric bursitis is a term used to describe chronic, intermittent pain accompanied by tenderness to palpation overlying the lateral aspect of the hip. First described by Stegemann in 1923, trochanteric bursitis has been referred to as the “Great Mimicker” because it is frequently mistaken for other conditions. Yet, the term ‘trochanteric bursitis’ may in fact be a misnomer given that three of the cardinal symptoms of inflammation, erythema, edema and rubor are uncommon.
The term ‘greater trochanteric pain syndrome’ (GPTS) may better characterize the condition because pain and reproducible tenderness in the region of the greater trochanter, buttock or lateral thigh, may be associated with myriad other causes such as tendinitis, muscle tears, trigger points, iliotibial band disorders (ITB), and general or localized pathology in surrounding tissues. GTPS, which to some extent has already replaced trochanteric bursitis as the most frequent designator for chronic lateral hip pain in light of the inherent difficulties in elucidating the true etiology of symptoms, can most accurately be described as a regional pain syndrome that often mimics pain generated from other sources, including, but not limited to, myofascial pain, degenerative joint disease, and spinal pathology.