Glossary of other terms

The section aims to explain some of the terms you might hear when it comes to a diagnosis for your hip pain.

Some of these are historical and do not reflect more up to date thinking.

Others overlap or focus on structure rather than an underlying cause.

Trochanteric bursitis

In simple terms this is inflammation of a fluid filled, cushioning sack that sits between the outer bony prominence of your hip and the overlying structures. This is a term that is falling out of favour as more up to date evidence comes to light.

Greater trochanteric pain syndrome

This has come to replace “Trochanteric bursitis” and implies that the source of lateral hip pain may be more changes to the tendons where they insert into the femur (thigh bone).

Snapping or clicking hip

This is when pain is felt over either the front or lateral aspect of the hip is accompanied by a snapping or clicking sensation.

The snap or click may or may not be significant but it is important to realise that an entirely normal and painless point can click.

In this case the problem is unlikely to be the joint itself but the soft tissue structures around the joint.

Iliotibial band syndrome (which can also affect the knee)

This is a term often used by runners. It is more commonly applied to the knee. It refers to a long band of tissue that runs down the side of your thigh and overlies the outer bony prominence of the hip (the greater trochanter of the femur). Historically it was thought this could be a source of lateral hip pain due to a “friction syndrome” but has since been challenged.

Labral tear

Your labrum is a collar of cartilage that sits around the edge of, and deepens, the socket of your hip joint.

It acts as a seal maintaining a negative (sucking) pressure helping to centre the ball in the socket.

There is a specific condition in younger adults where the labrum can be irritated in the front of the hip. This is called femoro-acetabular impingement (FAI for short).

The pain is felt deep in the joint and is worse with flexing the hip right up to the chest.

If you are worried you might have this then discuss this with your GP.

If, as we age, we develop osteoarthritis then the pain is much more likely to be coming from the joint as a whole and not simply from the labrum.

The previous advice about early management and exercise in this “Hip and Groin pain” section is designed to cover all of these diagnoses.

Click on the video link here or in previous sections for advice on exercises that can help with hip pain.

Exercise videos


Posterior pelvic tilt


Side lying exercises